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    I wish all the newspaper owners in South Africa could follow your work as I do. The most funny thing is that many newspapers carry weekly marketing supplements telling us how to brand and market our products successfully but, as you have said, “they are taking no notice of what they are demostrating in their own pages”.

    They often blame the rise of the digital media for the significant decline in sales, but the the underlying factor is that they don’t market their brands enough in this very competitive world. The print media is contributing to its own demise by neglecting good marketing principles.

     Internet usage is not that prevalent in SA and is not posing too much threat as in the West. South Africans still believe in the power of newspapers and they still enjoy the look and feel of the printed pages, but most of these newspapers still appear to be conservative or traditional and rarely gratifiy the needs of the contemporary reader.

    The most important thing in brand marketing is “conquering your territory first”. The readers must know where you offices are situated so that they can come and tell their stories to the reporters. Daily Sun is a good example of engaging with the reader. Some newspapers operate beyond the reach of their readers, they operate like the NYDA. Ad reps are also important but newspapers tend to hire sales reps to sell their advertising space. AYAKATA

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    Tshepo Moletsane

    The demise of newspaper lies in its inability to reinvent itself. There is an overemphasis on shareholder value, which inevitably places priority in sales aspect of the business over an above both content (editorial), readership (target market), and marketing (brand).

    This situation is also riddled with contradictions, as newspaper management ultimately sacrifice efficient running of the newspaper groups by implementing cost cutting excercises such as reduction of resources within the newsroom (ultimately reduction in credible content and the subsequently rise of sensationalism, limitation/cut on marketing budget  (which ultimately leads to a stagnant or depreciating brand, market share, reduce sales leads), and lastly but most importantly loss of readership as credibility of content dissapears due to sensationalism. 

    The irony in all this is that executive management gets rewarded handsomely on cost cutting interventions, as it provides shareholder value but this is ultimately not sustainable in the long run and the medium whether from editorial or commercial aspect  of the business. To the staff within these establishments the situation becomes nothing short of ON THE JOB TICKING TIME BOMB.

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    I like your example of ‘La Repubblica’, what that ‘model’ of marketing does do is engage with readers through ‘thought leaders’ and stops the ‘Trolls’ from commenting (al la News 24’s ‘cut and paste sensationalist’ style of journalism) For me the most off putting newspapers like the ‘Sunday Crimes’ is the continued obsession with using hard hitting headlines tied to a really badly written editorial or article with (seemingly) few facts and more ‘opinion’ that did not warrant the headline in the first place. I find on an almost daily basis spelling mistakes (in HEADERS of all things) and poor grammar (inexcusable by any serious journalist) making me believe that the whole newspaper is really not to be taken seriously.

    Balance is required with these papers (digital or print) thus by separating entertainment and lifestyle etc (non hard news) all you are doing is polarising readers who are tired and emotionally drained of reading bad news ad nauseum and thus skipping the ‘Breaking news’ and only reading the ‘sports pages’ and entertainment.

    I do believe however that in this erra of information overload the ’60 second news pieces’ will flourish and that headlines will grow even more outrageous to attract readers even if its at the expense of the story itself . 

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