BBC Advertising boosts presence in Africa

New regional team established to support growing opportunities across African market

BBC Advertising, part of BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, has increased its presence across sub-Saharan Africa, by launching a local team in market. The decision is the latest in a series of announcements, across the business, focused on increasing the focus on emerging markets where key growth opportunities have been identified.

The newly established team, based in Johannesburg, is being led by Isla Macleod, Regional Sales Director, Africa, who joined BBC Advertising in 2009 and previously held the of position of Digital Business Development Director EMEA in London. In this new role Isla is responsible for the generation and delivery of advertising sales within market, including sponsored and branded content across the BBC World News channel, as well as partnered content across and the BBC World Service in all 50 sub-Saharan nations. She is also focused on building a team of home grown talent with local experience.

Currently supporting Isla is Zione Akule, Digital Sales Director, South Africa. Zione joined the company in April 2015 having previously worked at Mediacom and graduate Malerie Pistorius, who was recently appointed TV and Online Media Planner. Recruitment is also underway for a Head of Commercial Partnerships Southern and West Africa for BBC StoryWorks, the content-led marketing arm of BBC Advertising. The successful candidate will be responsible for the creation, development and execution of relevant content packages tailored to regional client objectives.

Isla Macleod said of the plans for Africa: “The African market is an exciting and rapidly growing market  offering a wealth of new opportunities for BBC Advertising, particularly in the digital space. I’m delighted to be heading up this new team for BBC Advertising, that will ensure we can offer our clients a more personal and bespoke service around, BBC World News and BBC World Service; while delivering the business’s commitment to further boost the BBC’s international digital footprint within the market.”

Sean O’Hara, SVP EMEA and Latin America, BBC Advertising, said: “With her wealth of knowledge of the market and her proven abilities in developing successful marketing partnerships with customers, Isla is perfectly placed to support and grow our new operation in Africa and I’m delighted by the appointments to date. I am confident in Isla and the team we have a stellar combination of talent, to deliver an ambitious and exciting new chapter for the business in Africa.”

Focusing efforts on the ground supports recent changes in the market where there has been a growing appreciation from clients to have a direct point of contact in market. It also ensures the team can continue to build on the digital footprint in this key emerging market and further the success of’s Africa edition which launched in April 2015.

Since launch the Africa Edition has witnessed a significant engagement from audiences, attracting an average of 400k unique browsers per month, over 90% higher than at launch. Africa Live is also becoming an increasingly valued source of African news, delivering 10% of page views to the African

News Index and during in November 2015, 75% of visitors/browsers came from outside the market.

The BBC’s investment in telling the African story cuts across radio, TV and digital platforms, bringing audiences multilingual content – including English, Kiswahili, French, Arabic, Hausa, Somali, Kinyarwanda and Kirundi – from across the continent. With presence in 48 African countries and more than 160 reporters across the continent, the BBC is committed to bringing news and insights from Africa to audiences locally, regionally and internationally.

Continuing investment in African stories, each year the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award recognises an outstanding individual living and working in Africa, who combines strong journalism skills and an exceptional talent in telling African stories, with the ambition and potential to become a star of the future.

Flagship shows on BBC World Service and BBC World News – such as Focus on Africa, Africa Business Report, Africa Debates and BBC African Footballer of the Year – offer audiences more Africa-focused content than other international news brands and now reach 99 million people across the continent every week. This is supported by the recent launch of new African-designed pilots – continuing the BBC’s initiative to invest in digital innovation across Africa; creating clickable and shareable content delivered by the BBC’s reporters across Africa.

Isla has 13 years’ experience in media with previous posts for BBC Advertising including: Digital Business Development Director EMEA and Digital Sales Director EMEA. She has extensive knowledge of the African Advertising landscape having been pivotal in building BBC Advertising within the market, during her time as Digital Business Director EMEA. Prior to joining BBC Advertising, Isla held posts at the Financial Times, IP Network and RTL Group.

The newly established team will focus their efforts on the BBC’s news portfolio (including the channel BBC World News) and digital offerings in market, while BBC Worldwide Africa will continue to build their presence and focus on the selling of advertising solutions and sponsorship across the BBC’s channel portfolio.