Peter Bruce is back at the helm of Business Day in the role of editor-in-chief. and publisher of the BDFM group of businesses.
The move follows a board meeting held on Friday in which the future of the BDFM titles and businesses, including Summit TV, was discussed.
Bruce will be responsible for the strategic vision for the company. “Yes, the strategy is mine,” he told The Media Online. “Essentially it is to develop a product or series of products to defend the financial notice revenue we once had and to find new revenue streams in, amongst others, the rest of Africa and in luxury goods,” he said.
Bruce was also tasked with appointing a chief operating officer, a position that has been filled by Nathi Maramnco. “He is easily the best newspaper manager I have ever worked with. Previously he was running the Avusa business in the Eastern Cape,” Bruce said.
Summit TV is an area Bruce is looking to capitalise on. Channel 412 on DStv is punted as “South Africa’s essential business channel”, but its website shows a site that looks tired, a distant cousin to the popular and top-end relaunched BDlive, Business Day’s digital offering. But with television advertising being a key driver of forward-thinking multi-media businesses, the opportunity is there for the taking. Summit TV boasts a wealthy audience profile, and an average weekly audience of 212 875 viewers.
“Our hope is to rebrand Summit TV as Business Day TV or something suitably close to that. But we will first have to get approval from Multichoice,” Bruce said.
BDFM is half owned by Times Media Group and Pearsons in the United Kingdom, owners of the Financial Times. Reuters reported on Monday that it was launching a £150 million “overhaul to counter a tough advertising market” and issued a warning that earnings would stall this year. But the good news was that it would not be selling the FT, a major concern since the group’s new chief executive John Fallon took over late last year.
“I have said the business is not for sale, nor have we initiated, conducted, encouraged in any shape or form, any sort of process whatsoever, nor have I had any conversations with anybody about the sale of the FT,” Fallon told reporters.
Asked to comment, Bruce said, “For the moment I can only share what I assume will be the relief of my FT colleagues at John Fallon’s insistence that Pearson will not sell the FT. It is clearly the right decision. Pearson is an awesome newspaper owner. I have no real feel for what their future in BDFM might be and I assume nothing will change soon.”