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Independent Media outperforms competitors, increases circulation

Despite an overall decline in newspaper circulation, Independent Media has grown its share of the South African daily and weekend newspaper market by 3% and 1% respectively.
This is according to the latest results of the Audited Bureau of Circulation (ABC) which measures newspapers and magazine circulation on a quarterly basis.In the past quarter (April to June), total daily newspapers declined by 4.8%, weekly newspapers declined by 2.6% and weekend newspapers declined by 3.1%.

Dr Iqbal Surve is the founder and majority shareholder of Sekunjalo and, since 2014, executive chairman of Independent Media SA. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko
Dr Iqbal Surve is the founder and majority shareholder of Sekunjalo and, since 2014, executive chairman of Independent Media SA. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko

The circulation of local (community) newspapers remained static.

Competitor titles such as Times Media Group’s Sunday Times dropped its circulation by 9% and The Times by a massive 20%.

“I am delighted with the performance of our publications and I commend our editorial and commercial teams for these results. Our ongoing growth in market share across circulation and adverting fits perfectly with our business strategy,” said executive chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé.

The company attributes its focused content strategy and its commitment to attracting and reaching out to South Africa’s diverse readership communities as the key reasons for the growth in circulation.

Independent Media is particularly pleased with the overall performance of its weekend titles especially Pretoria News Saturday, Sunday Tribune and Weekend Argus.

Pretoria News Saturday showed its strength as the capital city’s preferred Saturday read and outstripped all the weekend titles with a whopping circulation growth of 11%. Sunday Tribune, KZN's favourite weekend newspaper, which has a growing following amongst property buyers and agents as a result of its Independent HOME supplement, grew its circulation by 5% with most of the core growth coming from its subscriber base. In the Cape, Weekend Argus Sunday increased its circulation by 6%.

As the country’s leading vernacular media company, Independent also applauded the solid performance of its stable of Isolezwe publications, in particular Isolezwe Ngomqibelo, which grew its circulation by 1.6%. POST, Independent’s niche weekly publication for the Indian market in KZN,continued to show its popularity and grew by 4.5%.

The performance of Independent’s dailies in KZN, Gauteng and Cape Town is indicative of the company's influence in the market. The Mercury and Daily News in KZN each showed a healthy circulation growth of 4% while Pretoria News in Gauteng improved its circulation by 2%. The Star’s quarterly performance is stable.

While the performance of Cape Times and Cape Argus remained stable, Independent Media has a focused strategy for the two titles.

“We intend to significantly strengthen the position of the Cape Times and Cape Argus over the next few months. This will no doubt have an impact on our market share,” said Dr Survé.

He said that the restructuring of Independent Media, as announced last week, will position the company to have an even greater impact on advertisers and consumers.

Independent Media now reaches over eight million readers daily on its various platforms.

The company has 24 major titles in its stable, including newspapers, magazines and regular supplements, making it the most influential English media company in South Africa.

15 Aug 2016 11:13

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