The Gauteng and Free State editions of the Afrikaans tabloid !_LT_EMSon!_LT_/EM will no longer be published. This announcement comes a month after Media24 had closed the fortnightly newspaper Gauteng Business.
Fergus Sampson, CEO for emerging markets of Media24’s newspaper division, said a combination of economic realities led to the closure of Son Noord (Gauteng) and Son Sentraal (Free State).
He said in tougher economic times advertisers were “not as willing to give an upstart a chance”. The economic conditions in which these products were first published were “very different” from current circumstances.
The drop of more than 10,000 in the Gauteng edition’s circulation (from 41,942 to 31,173 in a year) was “huge in circulation terms”, he told TheMediaOnline.
In the Free State, the weekly publication had a circulation of 11,878. “Remember, this is a tabloid. It is expected to sell a lot of copies. We expected more than 11,000.”
Sampson said Son‘s editions in the Western and Eastern Cape would not be affected.
Although the weekly Eastern Cape edition’s circulation (22,255) is lower than that of the closed-down Gauteng edition, Sampson said it was “relatively speaking” a big paper in a province where Daily Sun had a circulation figure of approximately 30,000. (Daily Sun‘s total national circulation is at 513,291).
Son‘s daily edition in the Western Cape has a circulation figure of 97,135 (ABC, October to December 2007).
“The economic circumstances in the short-term have a bearing on start-ups as a whole. The company has boldly invested in products… As you count your failures, you count your successes.
“Look at Daily Sun. The same with Son in the Western Cape Ã¢Â€Â“ the markets love them.”
He said the “trick” was to recognise failures and to close them down.
According to Sampson approximately 10 personnel members were affected by the decision to cease publication of Son Noord and Son Sentraal. As many as possible would be moved to other divisions in Media24.
In her farewell letter to readers in the last edition (29 February to 4 March), Son Noord editor Estee Booyens, said they had “lost the war”.