SA media firm to close major papers

JOHANNESBURG. – In a development that will shock readers and the South African media establishment, Media24 is set to close several of its mainstream print publications, including City Press, Rapport, Beeld, and Daily Sun.

It is understood that the axe could fall in October.

Four sources at the media company have independently confirmed that a decision has been taken to close them. It is further understood that the only print publication in the stable remaining in circulation is the Cape Town-headquartered Die Burger.

Ishmet Davidson, chief executive of Media24, responded that “Media24 continuously reviews its operations to protect viability and long-term sustainability within the context of its transition to an increasingly digital media landscape. We will also continue to consult with staff about any potential and subsequent actions and remain committed to following due process. We do not comment on rumours or speculation, nor on the details of any internal processes.”

The decision comes as Media24 and other companies in the print space grapple with financial losses, primarily driven by escalating distribution costs, diminishing advertising revenue and a readership migration to online platforms.

It is unknown whether Media24 will create individual online brands for the newspapers, as their content is aggregated as sub-sections of its News24 and Netwerk24 portals.

A source said that while the announcement was not common knowledge within newsrooms and advertising departments, there had been “general anxiety” in the company for a long time.

Falling circulation figures for the titles would seem to bear this out. In 2000, Rapport’s circulation was around 335 000. Twenty-four years later, the figure hovers around 60 000. In the past two decades, its Sunday stablemate, City Press, has seen its circulation dive from 233 000 to around 14 000.

At the same time, the highly respected daily paper Beeld has seen its circulation drop from just over 100 000 to 20 000. – Moneyweb

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