Independent Media’s Isolezwe has bucked the trend of declining print media titles. The latest ABC figures, released on Thursday, showed the Zulu language newspaper based in KwaZulu-Natal growing its circulation from 104 860 to 108 629 in Q2 2015. The Cape Argus, edited by Gasant Abarder, also showed growth, moving from 29 170 to 30 428 in the corresponding reporting period.
“Isolezwe is testament to Independent Media’s faith in – and commitment to – South Africa’s vernacular newspaper market and is our group’s star performer. Editor Sazi Hadebe’s Isolezwe team have excelled in understanding and catering for their Zulu-language market with entertaining copy that strongly resonates with their readership and we are very proud of the paper’s achievements,” said executive chairman of the group, Dr Iqbal Survé in a press statement. “In this tough commercial environment, this is a newspaper that extraordinarily battles to find space to cater for the advertisers that stream to the paper to promote their products.”
Abarder said the news about the growth in the Cape Argus circulation was “heartening news in the context of a gloomy outlook for daily newspapers and it is testimony to the hard work and dedication of the team at the Cape Argus”. He said the newspaper had “added a lot of innovation to our reporting repertoire to enhance the experience for readers and online users”.
The Argus changed its format in September last year from tabloid to US broadsheet, a gamble that is paying off, Survé said.
The Weekend Argus also increased its circulation from 55 017 to 55 099 while Isolezwe ngeSonto and Isolezwe ngoMgqiblo showed a growth of 4% (from 85 700 to 89 104) and 2,6% (from 79 476 to 81 580) respectively. Post, the weekly niche publication serving South Africa’s Indian community and now in its 60th year, also showed a steady increase in circulation growing to 43 567 from 43 363.
“These are of course challenging times for the media industry, but we at Independent Media are encouraged by the solid performance of our group’s daily titles. We continue to be by far the strongest print media industry players in the Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal and remain extremely influential in Gauteng,” said Survé in the statement.
He said Independent Media noted the fall in circulation of Gauteng dailies, The Star to 88 421 and the Pretoria News to 14 626 and that this would be addressed. The Cape Times, a newspaper that has come in for some criticism over what the group calls a “raft of editorial changes” dropped to 31 647 from 31 784. This was attributed to the new editorial team and new direction of the historic title.
The Daily News dropped to 26 368 from 29 457 and The Mercury has dipped slightly from 28 938 to 27 591. In Kimberley, the Diamond Fields Advertiser is down to 8 941 from 9 519.
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