The Sunday Times has launched a country edition to service rural readers long at a disadvantage due to printing schedules and distribution logistics. The Sunday Times Express started delivery to inland rural areas on 6 May.
“We have for some time offered the Sunday Times without some of its sections at a reduced price. The response has been very positive. The Sunday Times Express edition continues this strategy, but instead of leaving out sections, we are producing a much better ‘best of the Sunday Times’ at a reduced cover price,” says editor, Ray Hartley.
“In addition, this edition will be produced early, enabling us to distribute it to areas that have been logistically impossible for us to reach until now,” he says.
Many rural areas were unable to get the Sunday Times due to print deadlines and distribution logistics – or if they did, the paper was delivered late in the day. The mission was then to find a way to accommodate the delivery of news to these regions without compromising on quality.
A decision was taken to include only the most essential highlights in the Sunday Times Express edition such as breaking news stories and columns from the various sections including Business Times, Sport, careers, Lifestyle, Travel & Food and Home. The Sunday Times Express is a 32-page product that retails for R9.
“The team responsible for this product have done a remarkable job of refining its content and I am confident that the express edition is a great addition to the Sunday Times brand. We are very excited to welcome new readers on board,” says Hartley
Avusa Media believes the Sunday Times has room to grow its circulation and readership in LSMs 6-7 and the new Express edition is an important initiative to attract new readers in this market. “We felt it necessary to bring a product to the market that will provide value for money for readers as well as allow us to reach a wider audience base,” says Avusa Media circulation manager Richard Pluck.
For this reason Sunday Times Express will be sold exclusively in selected in-land provinces. The distribution will be to outlying areas of the selected provinces, as well as areas with a predominant LSM 5 – 7 demographic. Provinces will include Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West Province, Free State. Sunday Times Express will also be sold in Gauteng within areas that have a predominantly LSM 5 – 7 demographic.