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Supermodels, Champagne and Midgets

by Andy Davis, image by Morne van Zyl / 09.02.2011

2oceansvibe has a reputation for being a total commercial slut of a website. Is there anything you won’t endorse for a paycheck?

Seth Rotherham: Crocs shoes. Unless they pay R50 million, which is more than the going rate for a soul (R30million, I believe). But seriously – I believe in every one of my brands and should make it very clear that 2oceansvibe often turns away companies offering money, when the product or service is not up to scratch or the people involved are lacking integrity. We are fiercely protective of our readers and will not expose them to crap.

What’s your philosophy on the difference between editorial and advertising? Is there a difference? Do they need to be kept separate?

The products that I do write about (are there really that many, these days?) I would probably write about if they were paying or not – so no, it doesn’t make a difference. If a Cape Town event that I want to attend, pays me and I write an article – I’m going anyway. It’s not often that I write about an event that I’m not going to or don’t want to attend.

What do you do if someone pays you to endorse a product you dislike. How creative are you willing to be?

Well luckily that has never happened and it never will happen. I don’t endorse products I dislike. 2oceansvibe often turns down products who want exposure/sponsorship deals, if they’re not cool or of poor quality.

Or dicks. 2oceansvibe doesn’t work with brands and products represented or owned by dicks. Dicks can be described as people lacking in social etiquette, manners and integrity. Dicks are people who utter racial slurs. Dicks are selfish. Dicks are people who don’t respect other people’s time. Dicks lie. Dicks phone when an SMS will do. Dicks insist on a meeting when an email will do. Dicks don’t pay on time.

Does 2Oceansvibe have a mission statement. If yes, what is it. If no, what would it be?

Come on, Andy. Work is a sideline, Live the holiday

Tell us about the empire. We know about the radio and the website but what are lottos and villas?

The lottos allows you the chance of reaching that ideal (living the holiday) in an instant – it is an online service that allows you to get tickets to the overseas lotteries online. The overseas lotteries laugh at our local lottery. I’m talking R1-2 billion REGULAR jackpots! The Villas allows you to live the holiday for a brief time – with an awesome range of villas and apartments for rent in Cape Town. Launching 2oceansvibe Jobs (strictly non 9-5 jobs) and 2oceansvibe Shop (selling vibe-type products) soon. Also currently occupying 2oceansvibe Media HQ premises in Waterkant.

A lot of people here at Mahala think that 2Oceansvibe represents an audience of privileged Cape Town Atlantic Seaboard wasps and private school beach jocks. Is that true?

How do you respond to that? That’s a lot of wasps. If you take into account the readership of 70,000 unique readers a month and the fact that comment wars break out between them from time to time, it would be a gross generalisation to assume they think and do the same things. People are quick to forget that I went to SACS Junior school. I’ve seen the other side. We had drive-by shootings the whole time during marble season. But seriously – no one is forcing you to read 2oceansvibe. Just sitting there stewing and getting angry really doesn’t make sense. Leave it and carry on with your vibe – whatever that is.

There’s another perception that you’re taking the piss with 2Oceansvibe. Are you really just a stoner enjoying the extended free lunch? Or is that a manicured media persona and the real Seth is really an anal, overworked start-up entrepreneur?

You can read whatever you want in to the mantra “work is a sideline, live the holiday” but that is truly how I live. For me, I’m doing what I want to do all day and every day. Having meetings that I want to have and dealing with people I want to deal with. And writing about things I want to write about. Imagine that. And my phone never rings. Ever. I get the best service from the select brands of products and service that I support, and I promise that you will too if you use them. Because that’s another element of living the holiday – not dealing with stress. Dealing with products and services that you have been referred to and can trust. It’s a rare thing and 2oceansvibe is giving it to you on a platter. Any problems with the brands I support and I will plug you in to the owner of that company immediately. Have you ever tried emailing me and asking for a special discount on a Vespa or an Apple Mac from Digicape? I dare you – you’ll save money so you have more money to spend. There you go – more money to live the holiday. And yes, obviously weed plays a part – this is Cape Town, right?

You’re pretty central to the 2Oceansvibe personality. A figurehead of sorts. You define the whole brand. Could 2Oceansvibe continue without you? Could someone else step in and take over as Seth?

I haven’t really thought about that. Seth will always be me and I will always be around. I suppose if you think about it, on a far larger scale, Richard Branson defines the whole Virgin brand and I very much doubt he has a desk at either Virgin Trains, Planes, Mobile or, God forbid, the gyms. But his principals and policies will be very much a part of the corporate governance at those various Virgin franchises. I won’t put that 2oceansvibe brand on or alongside anything that doesn’t live up to the standards that we set for ourselves. Integrity, trust, loyalty. You know – the basics.

How do you feel about Hugh Hefner? Is Seth self-styled in his image?

I think we’re all slightly torn. He is part awesome, because he is living the fantasy and completely taking the piss by nailing women 60 years younger than him, but then at the same time it’s kind of sad. I mean, really, besides good blow jobs and a rock hard ass, is he getting any other stimulation? I very much doubt that debate within the mansion could compete with Varsity Challenge.

Seth Rotherham - 2oceansvibe

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

This is exactly what I would be doing. I started doing this for fun – as a hobby – before blogs even came around. It’s what I felt like doing then and what I feel like doing now. Actually, come to think of it – I always fancied myself as an F1 racing driver. Genuinely! I genuinely believe that I would have nailed a championship and won at Monaco. Seriously.

How much of your audience is Cape Town specific? How do you guys feature in JHB and DBN?

There is a bigger spread in JHB than you would think. 25% of our readership are form JHB. 60% are from Cape Town. Not too sure about Durbs. I can tell you that 40% of our readers are female. We’ve got plans to move a portion of 2oceansvibe Radio into Johannesburg – but I can’t give more detail than that. Oh, and our 2oceansvibe Radio app has been downloaded 9,000 times so far.

The 2oceansvibe content (Radio and Web) is largely a white and english domain. A lot of the content is international and western (UK + USA).  What’s up with that? Do black South Africans read and listen to 2OV? How come there’s so little representation on the site and radio?

I’m not sure if black South Africans are listening – it never crossed my mind, to be honest. It’s a lifestyle segment we’re targeting – it’s not a colour thing. I’m just delivering content that interests me. I like stories about Apple and Rupert Murdoch and Paris Hilton and Surfing and Hip-Hop and Rock & Roll and the new MINI and Obama and Candice Swanepoel and Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazine – stuff that makes me think and stimulates discussion. That’s it. I’m certainly not lowering myself to a position where I’m doing a head count of how many black or white people are in the room. I like to think we’ve gone a bit further than that in our thinking? Must I be forced to submit a list? Should I eagerly respond by saying that we are known to play a bit too much hip hop? Or that Natalie Becker is starting a new radio slot on Saturday mornings on 2oceansvibe Radio? Or show you screenshots of black people tweeting their support? Come now, what’s more pathetic – asking the question or responding with a report?

Is that symptomatic of a segregated Cape Town experience?

Who knows? Maybe it’s the evil private school education system (the first schools in SA to allow ‘integration’ when it was still illegal) that groomed me not to notice. The novelty clearly hasn’t worn off for a lot of people out there.

You have a tie-in with GQ. But your content is pretty similar to a lot of lads mag content. Are you competing with them at the same time? What about FHM? Where does 2OV live in the SA media spectrum?

The only tie-in with GQ is they made me Best Dressed Man of the year. I’ve been a fan of the UK and US GQ magazines my whole life and you will notice those latest covers on the left of the website – allowing you to click through and subscribe to them. I don’t make money off that – I just dig the magazines and want people to know that you can get overseas GQ magazines and Vanity Fair magazine for under R300 a year. To your door. Just trying to help. With regards to the local GQ, I believe the magazine has made a complete turnaround in the last year and I can honestly say that it has finally become a great read! Their new website is very cool too!

What’s the story with 2Oceansvibe Radio? How’s the audience? Does it pay the bills? Does it run 24hours a day?

Things have gone pretty mental at 2oceansvibe Radio. There are all sorts of ways to stream the station – from your phone or directly on the net or in the new MINI Countryman (comes with built-in internet radio), as well as Nokia’s radio service and more. With the information available to us we estimate an audience of around 8,000 to 10,000 listeners. It’s got to pay the bills – do you think poaching Richard Hardiman from KFM came cheap?  We’ve got live programming from 8am to 5pm every day now, which is very exciting, especially with our new shows launching this week, which sees Natalie Becker doing a 9-11 Saturday morning show and Rob Van Vuuren and Martin Evans taking care of the Thursday drive show from 3pm to 6pm.

2Oceansvibe Radio sounds really professional. The production value is surprisingly high. I guess that answers a lot of the above questions. How big is your team (web and radio)? Will you ever try to take it across to FM?

It’s building.. In terms of the sound – thank you – it’s been a process. We’re looked after by Digicape for Mac hardware and Marshall Music handle the sound. So a big hats off to them.

I honestly believe that getting into FM would be going backwards at this stage. Just look at what is happening overseas. The FM signal is being shut down permanently in the UK in 2015. Gone. Finished. Tons of new cars like MINI and BMW and FORD are launching internet radio ready vehicles. People are now easily able to listen to privately owned stations that don’t play crap music 24/7 and don’t speak to you like a moron. It’s not right that our stations make us want to drive off a cliff. And when we try to escape to another station, what is there? More crap. At 2oceansvibe Radio we play all sorts of tunes and talk about all sorts of stuff. Stuff that people really care about. I don’t care about the traffic lights on Vangaard Drive and I don’t care about a story about periwinkle poachers. I wan’t to listen to the new Black Keys track on vinyl and talk about the launch of the new iPad, while girls hang around in the studio in bikinis, drinking Jack Daniels. Surely that’s more your vibe?

You guys get an insane amount of traffic on 2Oceansvibe. Short of “selling out”, what advice can you give to a site like Mahala to emulate your success?

The initial following was created around by own early days – musings and rants and raves. From there the site progressed, adding to that following which had been built over seven years.  I think the big thing about 2oceansvibe now is about being a one-stop shop. Apart from some purely original content, we also make sure the reader gets a bit of everything – stuff that we think matters. You know, stuff that people really talk about at home or at dinner or around a braai or in the pub. If everyone is talking about a new viral video – I want to make sure it is on 2oceansvibe first.

What’s your vision for 2OV in the next 10 years?

Supermodels, champagne and midgets – everywhere!! Just kidding. Hah! Very difficult to say. Technology plays such a big part. If you had asked me five years ago where it would be now, I would never have suggested there being an internet radio station – the technology wasn’t there (MWEB uncapped broadband) so the notion wouldn’t have come up that easily. Certainly FM radio was always appealing (I just wanted to change local radio – the idea to have it on the web was secondary to the issue/problem at hand) – but setup costs were around R30-R40million. A little pricey to just test. But I knew radio itself needed a change and new technology simply allowed me to test that without losing such a massive chunk of money. Moving forward – I wouldn’t be able to imagine 10 years – but in the short term I would say web TV is on the cards… for now. And then, who knows, a 2oceansvibe F1 Team?

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