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TV and advertising dying

It has been sad, especially for me who has advertised heavily on TV for more than one decade, to have watched the decline of live television. Apart from a few sports events, and even those show declining audiences, by and large people watch less and less live TV.  That means even if they want to watch a specific program they either watch it online or record it later when they zip through the adverts or without the adverts.  Advertising on TV has become less and less effective over the years and I, in particular, can see it in our call statistics and the new cases we take on from television advertising over the last three years.  The decline during that period in particular, which obviously also coincides with increasing internet speeds and it being cheaper and more cost-effective for people to have options such as Netflix, have really seen those calls dramatically reduced.

Business magazines talk about the generation of “cable cutters” and while they don’t literally mean actually cutting the cables, a lot of today’s younger generation, with the exception perhaps of Game of Thrones, simply don’t watch anything live on TV other than maybe a major cricket game, rugby match or soccer tournament when of course the advert break is the time to get up, stretch your legs, go to the bathroom or go and help yourself to a beer from the fridge.  What has been surprising though is how television companies have not really reduced the rates they charge for advertising during that time – perhaps the media buyers at the bigger firms – and I am talking about the major companies in South Africa – don’t seem to notice as much or they are too happy with all the special events they get invited to as a result of placing their firm’s media with those companies, but TV audiences, while not totally down, are certainly declining. 

In my industry of course most people would not advertise in the first place because the vast majority of attorneys simply unethically tout for business.  They pay touts up to R25,000 a case to bring them serious injury cases and that, from a cost-effective point of view, it is far cheaper than what it would cost to advertise for those same clients.  It is unethical, but I cannot think of when last an attorney was struck off for touting and even in the cases where we have laid complaints where attorneys have touted cases away from us precious little seems to have been done to them by the then Law Society and now the Legal Practice Council.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 10-Jul-19   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Pay teachers more

This is one of those topics I have always felt very passionate about.  My grandfather, on my mother’s side was a school principal in Amanzimtoti and my grandmother, Helen Wilson, was a school teacher.  She went to University at a time when very few women did and was a very talented women who entered one of the few professions open to women at that time.  In those days, being the principal of a school was an important position to hold and would have made you, not quite equal to the Mayor of Amanzimtoti, but certainly to be one of the more prominent people in town and the job was much better paid, relative to other jobs at that time, than it is now. 

Teachers around the world are getting paid less and less with the result that the field is attracting the worst students – quite often, and statistics in some countries bear this out, those who take on teaching jobs come in the bottom one-third of the results at their University or College.  The countries that are taking education serious and paying quite generously are actually famous for a far better system of education and that would include South Korea, Finland and Germany. 

If you want to attract a top talented teacher you have to pay more and you should want to attract the top talented teacher because do you want your children to be taught by the most talentless, bottom of the class people?  Teachers should not be at the bottom of the pile when it comes to salaries and as it is we lost a fortune of our top teachers to the UK about 10 to 15 years ago, including one of my good friends, simply because he could earn so much more money in London and be living in an international city as well, than he could in South Africa. 

We lost our nurses to Dubai, our dentists to Canada, our doctors to London and all for similar reasons, but I would say really there are few people that are paid less than our nurses and our teachers and both of them are critical. Ask yourself why there has been such an explosion of personal injury and medical negligence cases in South Africa? The best nurses left and we lost a lot of teachers and continue to do so.  This however, is not a problem that just South Africa has – too many countries think that they can underpay teachers and that somehow underpaid teachers will produce a new crop of geniuses.  If you want the best, you need to pay the best and things get worse when people know that the private schools will pay better salaries to the teachers than in public schools and so of course, the children of middle to wealthy parents pay more so that their children can get a better education and a better teacher than the person sitting in a village in Mpumalanga.  The problem is if you don’t educate the person sitting in a village in Mpumalanga properly, there is every chance that he is going to either do something bad to you and your family, because he gets into crime or he is never going to be a valuable member of society. 

People always ask me when will South Africa resolve its problems and I always say to them that it will be a number of years after we get the education system right and we have not got it even close to right yet. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 05-Jul-19   |  Permalink   |  14 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
South Africa's GDP declines

As we now know South Africa’s gross domestic product, otherwise known as GDP, declined by 3,2% in the first three months of 2019.  That is the largest percentage the economy has slowed down in the last 10 years.  It is apparently largely to do with Eskom’s load shedding.

GDP is very important, because if your economy is not growing, your jobs market cannot grow and we know all of the problems that go with a high unemployment rate – largely crime, but also more desperation and greed in the form of corruption.  At the beginning of the year we were told that South Africa would grow its economy by about 1,5% this year and while they still think it will turn around later this year they are now projecting 0,7%.  To grow at 0,7% is obviously not enough to create jobs in the country, but that would at least be better than the reduction in the first three months, so it does seem to indicate some likelihood of more positive growth later this year.  There are so many things that need to be tackled, including the labour laws in South Africa, if we are to get more jobs and an improving economy.    

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 27-Jun-19   |  Permalink   |  13 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Disappointed with Deputy President appointment

I was very disappointed to see that President Cyril Ramaphosa, and how good it is to write that instead of writing about our former President, Jacob Zuma.  In fact, I used to struggle to even call him President Jacob Zuma, because I simply did not have that respect, but I have all the respect in the world for Cyril Ramaphosa. 

There was a lot of international coverage as to whether or not he would appoint David Mabuza as the Deputy President of South Africa, given that there seems to be a number of allegations involving improprieties in the Mpumalanga Education Department, and what that money was used for and whether or not he was involved, etc and there was a devastating expose in the New York Times about him a few months ago.  It was commonly expected that he would not be appointed if Cyril Ramaphosa had enough power within the ANC and one can only assume that the fact he has been appointed as Deputy President must mean that President Cyril Ramaphosa does not have too much of a majority within the ANC itself.  That is unfortunate, because he is the man for this time, he is what South Africa needs when there are so many business issues that need to be resolved and it is seen as somewhat of a negative, from an international perspective, that David Mabuza has been appointed as the Deputy President.  Of course, he may well argue that he has never been found guilty of anything, etc, but there is certainly a perception that is quite negative and you never want to appoint somebody who has those clouds floating above them to such an important position, unless you have no choice.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 21-Jun-19   |  Permalink   |  23 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Do you still watch TV?

I have noticed in recent years that the TV advertising that my firm does has become less effective.  People don’t watch as much live TV now as they used to – something that the television companies in South Africa seem to pretend to ignore when hiking their advertising rates each year – when there is not justification to do so, because they are all losing audiences.  The events that are still watched in a big way are generally live sports events, but a lot of people don’t watch much live TV anymore.

I would be interested to know, with reference to you and your family as to whether or not you watch any live TV and if so, what the programmes or events are and generally how you watch?  Is it something you have recorded to watch later without adverts or are you using Netflix or another similar service?  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 11-Jun-19   |  Permalink   |  39 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Tesla introduces long-range vehicles

Tesla has just brought out new versions of both their Model S and Model X.  The new Model S can go approximately 592km on one charge before you will need to charge it again and the Model X can go 520km on one charge.  In other words, you are getting to the point where you will be able to drive an electric car from Johannesburg to Durban without charging.  No doubt the improvements will continue every year and although Tesla has not come to South Africa yet, one must not forget that they provide Superchargers around the countries where they are based, like in America and Canada.  That allows you to stop on your journey at a charger, while you pop into a restaurant to have some coffee and a snack, that will recharge your car faster than your chargers at home can charge it, adding in let’s say 400km of charging in about an hour.  In other words, if you felt that you needed another 50 or 100km to get to Durban on your way from Johannesburg, you could stop at the Supercharger for 15 minutes and that would be more than enough to top up your vehicle while you take a break.  I am sure there are those who would say that they would like to drive the whole way to Durban without taking a break, but it is suggested for good driving that you should generally stop every 2 or 3 hours on a journey and I certainly stop at the halfway point on the way to Durban.

In any event, all of this is theoretical, because Tesla has not launched in South Africa and perhaps the cost of putting Superchargers and things like that all over South Africa only to sell a small number of the vehicles does not make sense, given that there are not that many people in South Africa, as a percentage of the population, who could afford a Tesla.  It will be interesting to see if any manufacturer, at the moment, is prepared to invest in South Africa to that extent in terms of the infrastructure.  Without it, electric cars cant really take off if you have to charge at your home only.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 04-Jun-19   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has finally come to an end and while not everybody watches the program, but what cannot be denied is that it has been the biggest program on television worldwide for many years.  Game of Thrones in some weeks had as many as 7 or 8 times more viewers than the next most popular program and in a day and age where not everyone watches TV live anymore that is simply massive.

I want to know what you thought, if you have watched Game of Thrones, of the final season, and in particular the final episode and what positions people ended up in, etc?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 29-May-19   |  Permalink   |  32 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Driving with windows open

I had a friend of mine in the car recently with me who kept asking me to wind down the windows in the car.  He prefers to do that for the flow of air and I told him that firstly the noise from outside tends to irritate me and I prefer more of the silence inside the car, but I also don’t think it is that safe to drive with the windows open.  

I have done Road Accident Fund claims for clients before who have been injured by things that have bounced off trucks and through windscreens as well as open windows, including one particular young lady whose lower jaw was basically separated from her upper jaw by something, which I can no longer recall, that bounced off the road from a truck in front of her.  I have not done many cases like that recently, but I have done more than my fair share cases that involve objects that bounce off the road or are thrown towards one’s vehicle by another vehicles tyres and I genuinely believe that it is far safer to have all of your windows closed and the air conditioning turned on if you have air conditioning than to drive with open windows.  It is naturally safer to be inside a motorcar when you get hit by another car than it is to be riding a motorbike at that time.  The glass does give you an extra layer of protection against stones and all sorts of things that can quite easily injure you including cases of people being blinded if you don’t have your windows closed.  By the same token, my old coach at Country Club Johannesburg, who eventually gave up golf and became a commentator on Tellytrack, the horseracing channel, had a client seriously injured on the golf range.  Hitting down on the ground, a tee that was embedded in the ground, flew into his eye and blinded him and I find that it is a lot safer when I am playing golf to play with sunglasses on because the dirt does often spray straight up towards your eyes and it may not just be sand that hits you in the eye.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 24-May-19   |  Permalink   |  17 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Eyes and getting older

I’ve had glasses for a few years and I was told then that you needed to upgrade the strength of the glasses every one or two years.  I did not until recently.  I was getting to a point where I was struggling to see, even with my current pair of glasses.  Changing the lenses, which cost a fortune, has really changed things rather dramatically for me.  It is amazing how parts of your body start failing you at what you consider as a relatively young age, and how we all just have to accept those types of things.  The funny thing is you can fairly easily choose yourself some cheap glasses at the airport and they will work just perfectly, but once you put yourself in the hands of optometrists that need to run tests on you and everything else they can do, and by the time they are finished you end up with pretty much the same glasses, but at literally 30 times the cost of just buying a pair of cheapies off the shelf.  

I do also end up having to buy those cheapies off the shelf, because I have arrived more than once at the airport without my glasses and I have reached that stage where if I don’t have my glasses certain documents are completely illegible to me, especially later in the afternoon or early evening.  In the morning, when my eyes are fresh I can see them, but later I cannot.  

I must say, I don’t know if there is such a thing as growing old “gracefully” but I will say I am growing old on the “I don’t care” basis.  In other words, if wearing glasses is what it takes to see something I honestly am going to wear glasses and could not care what it looks like.  I guess I am only a few years away from getting that open top sports car which seems to be what most middle-aged men try and pretend that they are not in fact aging while slowly driving up and down the streets of Parkhurst.  So many of them would look so much better if they spend some of that money perhaps on a hair transplant and did just a touch more work in the gym because nothing is going to get past the extra 30 kgs they are carrying on their stomach and the Ferrari or fancy Porsche might work for some people, but putting a bit of effort into the body might do even more!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 21-May-19   |  Permalink   |  39 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Collecting tax

I was interested to read the tax statistics for 2018 put out by the National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service.  Tax revenue is made up largely of personal income tax, being 38,1% of all tax collected in a year, then Value Added Tax collects 24,5% of the tax and corporate income tax produces 18,1%. That is probably because a lot of companies have moved their head office off-shore to countries like Mauritius where they claim that their intellectual property lies and as a result they pay less tax.  Other interesting statistics include that 40,1% of all taxpayers were registered in Gauteng and the majority of those live in Johannesburg.  Of those taxpayers 54,7% are male and 45,3% were female. 

Some studies suggest that South Africa loses about R7 billion a year due to multi-national corporations shifting their profits to other countries and that 98% of that loss comes from the biggest 10% of multi-national corporations.  Apparently, half of all profits shifted out of South Africa are moved to Switzerland, which has a corporate income tax rate of 8,5% compared to South Africa’s 28%.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 16-May-19   |  Permalink   |  29 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
SARS needs to be fixed

It is amazing how much damage was done to SARS during the time of Tom Moyane.  He was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 19 March 2018 and we now hear that SARS missed its most recent revenue collection target by R14,6 billion.  In other words, the estimate as to how much tax they would collect and on which the budget is based was missed by R14,6 billion!  VAT refunds have a massive backlog and apparently, and nobody seems to be sure of this, this has been going on for a while, try and make it look more like SARS had actually reached its various targets.  There are a lot of people in the country, especially in some of the upmarket golf estates, who seem to pay little or no tax at all and cheat in every way they can and SARS and the government will need to tackle that and start getting those people paying the right amount of tax.  The bottom line is that SARS had some disastrous years during which it has been completely mismanaged and there will not be any quick fix for it, but I do think they need a lot more sophisticated computer systems. If people buy a property there should be paperwork relating to what their income is, if people buy fancy motorcars they should have to complete documentation because there are way too many people in South Africa who just are not paying their fair share of tax at the moment.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 13-May-19   |  Permalink   |  37 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Uber goes public

Uber is about to list on the Stock Exchange, at a value of approximately $100 billion.  I find it hard to see the value in a company that is not really making money and that is having issues, in terms of obtaining permission, to work in numerous cities around the world, but I was wrong on Facebook and I am probably wrong on this one as well. 

To me, it is all the signs of a Stock Market that is really becoming overheated, with companies like Lyft, and now Uber, coming to the market at sky-high valuations.  If you invested in Uber a long time ago on the private market, then of course this is going to be your time to celebrate, your big payback time, but I just don’t see what real profits a new shareholder in Uber is going to make.  It is not a guaranteed winner like Amazon or Google is in my opinion.  If I was to consider buying shares in a company like Uber then I would look at a company that owns Uber shares, but is trading below its full value, such as Softbank.  The founder of Softbank bet on Bill Gates and Microsoft early, he bet on Steve Jobs before the iPhone came out, and he has a reputation for really picking out tomorrow’s winners and Softbank is currently trading at a lower value than the sum of its parts and that would be something I would consider, long ahead of Uber.  What are your thoughts on Uber as a share – not Uber as a service or Uber as an investment for a driver of yours to drive a car for you?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 07-May-19   |  Permalink   |  41 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00


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