Media24 is considering closing five magazines and two newspapers, outsourcing its remaining monthly magazines and reducing their frequency, publishing only two newspapers digitally and reducing staff in support services.
Those restructuring plans were announced this morning by CEO Ishmet Davidson. Volksblad and Die Burger Eastern Cape are the newspapers that will then only appear digitally on Netwerk24 in the new dispensation, with Sun on Sunday and Sunday Sun the two newspapers that will close.
The daily newspapers Die Burger en Beeld and the Sunday newspaper Rapport are still being printed, with no frequency changes. The flagship magazines Huisgenoot and Landbouweekblad will also continue to be compiled internally by Media24 and will be published as usual.
Afrikaans monthly magazines affected by the outsourcing plans include Sarie, Tuis, Weg !, Weg! Ry & Sleep , as well as the bi-weekly Kuier . The magazines will therefore still be printed, but will be compiled on contract by editorial teams. The current monthly magazines will then appear six times a year, in addition to Home , which will have eight issues.
“From the early days of the pandemic in South Africa, with everything we do, we have focused on two priorities: the health and safety of our people and keeping our business going – by implication, for as long as possible posts to protect, ”says Davidson.
“However, the pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing structural long-term contraction of print media, with a devastating effect on our already vulnerable print media operations.
“Our circulation and advertising revenue has dropped sharply since April. At the same time, many of our print titles no longer benefit from previous interventions to counteract structural declines and keep them on the shelf for longer. “
Davidson also says that even if the economy recovers to levels before Covid-19, Media24’s print media business will not be able to recover from the pandemic’s impact on it.
“Unfortunately, we have no choice but to restructure our business now in order to limit the losses on our print media portfolio. It will also allow us to focus on the feasibility of the titles that are retained and to keep them in print for as long as possible. ”
At the same time, Media24 is adapting to an increasingly digital environment faster than ever. “In a very competitive market, which includes major international brands, South Africans prefer News24 and Network24 as their digital news destinations,” says Davidson. For the year to date, News24 maintains an average of 1.6m unique users daily, 63% more than the average for 2019. At the end of June, Network24’s subscribers stood at nearly 67,000, growing 36.5% compared to June 2019.
The planned interventions are expected to affect almost 510 staff members (with a proposed reduction of approximately 660 posts), predominantly in the print media and distribution divisions. Media24 currently has a staff of 2,971. The company starts consulting with staff today.
The complete plans include:
- Sluit Move! en die Hearst-titels (Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling, Runner’s World).
- Only publish Drum in digital format.
- A publishing agreement with editor Helen Schöer to publish the parenting titles ( Baby & Toddler and Your Pregnancy ) independently.
- Outsource the editorial production of the remaining monthly magazines (Fairlady , Sarie, SA Hunter / Hunter, True Love , Home / Home , Go! / Go! And Go! Drive & Sleep / go! Drive & Camp ) as well as the bi-weekly Kuier.
- Reduce the frequency of monthly magazines to six issues per year, and eight issues for Home / Home , SA Hunter / Hunter and Man Magnum .
In addition to YOU and Landbouweekblad , YOU will still be compiled and published internally.
TVPlus is not affected at this time and Finweek ‘s Afrikaans edition is already only available digitally.
- Close Sun on Sunday and Sunday Sun.
- For the Eastern Cape edition of Sun .
- Only publish Volksblad and Die Burger Eastern Cape on digital weekdays – fully available in PDF format on Netwerk24.
- Includes four community newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal: Amanzimtoti Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Hillcrest Fever and Maritzburg Fever.
- Merge the following titles: Northern Cape and Kalahari Bulletin becomes Northern Cape Bulletin , and Crown News and Free State News becomes Free State Crown News . Theewaterskloof Gazette is incorporated into Hermanus Times .
- Accelerate the digital transition of The Witness .
- Reduce staff in the media distribution business and in the divisional and corporate support services divisions affected by the proposed scaled-down print media operations.
Davidson says the company is fully committed to managing these highly sensitive consultations with compassion, while also following the legally prescribed process. “Unfortunately, we cannot disclose any further information until the process is completed.”