Newspaper circulation in South Africa is in free fall

According to the ABC quarter 3 2015 report (auditing bureau of circulations of SA) all types of newspapers are in decline except free newspapers which are up 1,6 million copies because a free government newspaper has been added for the first time.

But there’s a lesson and an opportunity here!

Heres the list of the maimed newspapers types:

  • Daily newspapers down 8% and shedding a total of 123 117 copies.
  • Weeklies papers dropped by 5,9%
  • Weekend papers were also not spared with a decline of 9,4%
  • Local papers surprisingly were also given a bloody nose with a decline of 6,2%
  • Free papers are up 23% but they were propped up by the inclusion of Vuk’uzenzele, a free government paper with a circulation of around 1,6 million.

Note: we compared this year’s 2015 Q3 report to the corresponding report from 2014.

Top 6 Daily newspapers:

1. Daily Sun : 224 616

2. The Times : 109 484

3. Isolezwe: 104 510

4. Sowetan: 92 453

5. The Star: 85 567

6. Son: 79 114

Biggest Newspapers by issue:

1. Sunday Times: 338 532

2. Soccer Laduma: 328 336

3. Daily Sun: 224 616

4. Rapport: 143 670

5. Sunday Sun: 136 968

6. The Times: 109 484

7. Isolezwe: 104 510

8. City Press: 94 290

9. Sunday World: 93 537

10. Sowetan: 92 453

The opportunity here:


Rethinking the role newspapers:

This may sound bizarre but the best thing about the decline of newspapers, is that it’s a platform to rethink and expand the idea of news and content development as well as the current business models.

The truth is newspapers can’t match modern media for speed, contextual relevance, share-ability and most importantly audience contribution.

Newspapers have their place in the arsenal of media types that each media company must possess to offer advertisers value and the ability to reach audiences across a multitude of mediums.

The time of newsrooms are done the new newsroom is a content development department. With content being created for different mediums and distributed to audiences through media that they choose.

Let us celebrate that our media and news options are starting to be delivered using multiple and integrated media.


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