Zimpapers posts 184pc  quarterly volume jump Mr Deketete

Nelson Gahadza

Senior Business Reporter

The country’s largest and only listed media group, Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited, says overall volume performance for the quarter to March 31, 2024, increased by 184 percent compared to the same period in the prior year, driven by the recovery of the Commercial Printing division.

During the quarter under review, the Commercial Printing division grew 188 percent following the increase in demand for its low-cost products.

“The Commercial Printing Division has been consolidated to create a bigger and more efficient printing hub that will provide printing services to the group and the open market at large. 

“This reorganisation is expected to give a new impetus to the business,” Mr Pikirayi Deketeke, the group’s chief executive officer, said in a trading update.

He said the group’s broadcasting division recorded an overall 2 percent volume growth, driven by the 53 percent jump by the Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) channel that has won the hearts of many in the market.

In the radio broadcasting sector, he noted that Star FM was the go-to urban radio station, while in Manicaland province, Diamond FM was the preferred choice. Capital FM was gaining momentum in Harare metropolitan, according to the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS).

“The group’s flagship newspapers continue to dominate the market, as evidenced by the ZAMPS first quarter survey results, where The Herald and The Sunday Mail were confirmed as the leading daily and weekly newspapers in the market, respectively.” 

Mr Deketeke said the foundation for any media business was audience generation, and the group was directing significant efforts to strengthen this pillar.

Resultantly, the group’s audiences grew by 20 percent to 9,5 million across all platforms compared to the same period last year.

“This growth in audience was confirmed by the ZAMPS Q1 survey results that showed most of the company’s brands leading in their respective segments.” 

Mr Deketeke said several action plans were put in place during the quarter to improve the performance of the group, including the creation of the expanded and more efficient Print Hub and the increased product offering under Typocrafters, which is now focusing on all scholastic materials, paper merchanting, bookshops, and corporate gifts, amongst many other lines.

“Furthermore, management is putting additional measures in place to ensure the future existence of the business by focusing on new media and spin-off benefits of its 360-degree solution in the media landscape,. 

The operational performance of the group is expected to improve in the second quarter in line with the performance optimisation measures being put in place by management and the general cyclical nature of its operations.

According to Mr Deketeke, the newly introduced currency, Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG), which is backed by precious metals (mainly gold) and foreign currency, is expected to bring currency stability, as several measures have been put in place to support it.

He said the group is focusing on the monetisation of its digital platforms and further consolidation of its volume and financial performance to secure a better second quarter of the year.

“In line with the strategy of strengthening the Print Hub, additional printing equipment is being procured to support the growth of the brand,” he said.

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