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Isolezwe - selling 694,913 copies every week, and growing

Operating as a 24/7 news organisation has benefited all three editions of the modern Zulu newspaper, Isolezwe.
Audited sales figures presented at the end of February show year-on-year growth of 3% for the daily, 9% for the Sunday and a massive 25% leap for the Saturday.

Explaining how his titles are countering the prevailing downward trend in newspaper sales, editor Sazi Hadebe says: "Isolezwe's popularity is fuelled by more than just an editorial formula, or a knack for writing in the vernacular.

"The people who work on the title live it. We live in the townships and suburbs and care about the people around us. We write about real issues - often every day things that matter to readers. And we write as though we're talking with our neighbours, with open honesty and respect.

"Through consistency and high standards, we've earned a reputation for credibility so readers come to us for the 'freshest' news and an angle they can trust and relate to.

"But, like our readers, we also know how to have a good time. Our entertainment team is out there. It's a priority in the weekend titles, we're known for our excellent coverage of all music genres - from the latest DJs to traditional maskandi, isicathamiya, jazz - our readers have eclectic taste and so do we.

"Sport, especially soccer, is another drawcard. Here we go beyond the game, with calendars, posters, fixtures, as well as post and pre-match columns and features on current and past players.

"Adding the Saturday (ngoMgqibelo) edition a year-and-a-half ago gave us the chance to strengthen our editorial team. Along with the Sunday (ngeSonto) staff, we've been able to bring more depth and breadth to our newsroom. As a result, we have a tight, highly skilled 24/7 news operation serving all three titles.

"We work together to break news but each edition has a distinct tone and content focus. Sunday has a more laid-back, weekend vibe. Popular features include gossip and news about national celebs.

"Human interest stories feature prominently on Saturdays, sport has five dedicated pages, we provide solid advice on various topics - the most popular of which is sex. And Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo's compact pull-out seven-day TV guide is a great value add," says Hadebe.

Their approach must be working because sales, readerships and advertising revenues are increasing across all three editions.

Hadebe is quick to add that contributions from the distribution, marketing and advertising functions are key to the brand's success. As well as good relationships with radio stations, advertisers, entertainers, artists and community organisations.

Selling 87,175 after five years, Isolezwe ngeSonto has increased its dominance in the Sunday Zulu market and opened a clear gap between itself and the No 2.

In just its fifth audited quarter, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo sold an average of 73 448 copies, up from the 58,851 copies sold in Quarter 4 2011.

"There's still plenty of scope for us to grow," says Hadebe, "we're well set-up and ready to take on more. Watch this space."

Isolezwe - selling 694,913 copies every week, and growing



8 Mar 2013 09:33

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