CYBERTORIAL* In a media environment that remains challenging Afrikaans news brands such as Beeld and Rapport have managed to remain focused on their core business while exploring innovative ways of expanding their business models.
As Minette Ferreira, general manager of Media24 News North (Beeld, Rapport, City Press, Sunday Sun and Daily Sun) said earlier this year, “Innovation and combination are the name of our game today, as well as ever-increasing quality. One news medium complements the other, and if quality is the common thread running through the reportage, a loyal reader base is bound to result.
Tracking the footprints
“At Media24 we are pleased to track the growing footprint of the news brands, attributable to improved distribution networks and a growing composite audience across all platforms. The audience is a key consideration, for the trust they show in a title and the medium.”
In South Africa 74% of urban adults trust the information newspapers give, as opposed to 47% preferring to place their trust in the internet and 42% in social media (Futurefact 2012). In its end 2012 rankings, research institute Media Tenor described Beeld as a progressive thought leader that had jumped from seventh position in 2011 to third.
Beeld and Rapport are both high quality news brands and in 2013 Rapport showed excellent growth of its regular reader base with a 20% increase in subscribers and Beeld has once again won the Frewin Award for typographical excellence – testimony to the high standards of these newspapers.
Sebastian Stent, head of digital media for Media24 News, notes the steady increase of digital consumers, across both websites and mobisites on the group’s titles, despite the recent introduction of paywalls, with subscriptions to broadsheets steadily increasing.
Big news big stories
“Broadly speaking, older readers still prefer print, and they are in the majority in South Africa, whilst younger consumers are migrating more and more to digital platforms. But when a major news story breaks, like that of Oscar Pistorius’ shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, every platform is important.
“Our web pages and social media were ideal for instant coverage and the print for detailed analysis. We cater for the full spectrum of the combined audience.”
As Ferreira says, “There is no room for complacency in the news business. Household consumption is under constant pressure from the economic climate and swift changes in the business world. Regular circulation and readership figures keep us on our toes, but the core of our offering remains quality – quality of news, quality of reach, and quality of audience delivery.
“Our Media24 Northern titles continue to hold their own in the dynamic news universe, with more and more brands competing for the same space. We are committed to maintaining quality across all platforms, and every title serves its own loyal readership.”
As news brands both Rapport and Beeld play a crucial role in our democratic society through informing their readers on all aspects of our society. In addition to this role, both titles are strongly committed to their respective CSI projects. Beeld is engaged with the Beeld Kinderfonds (Children’s Fund) that supports children’s homes and places of safety and between 40 and 50 organisations annually benefit from this project. Rapport is involved with the Rapport Onderwysfonds (Educational Fund) that awards more than 180 bursaries annually.
* Cybertorial is paid-for content