Chart: FANTASTIC NEWS: S.Africa: The terrifying collapse of newspapers is here – My Comments

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[I can't tell you how this pleases me. For decades I have watched and read the lying Jewish Mass Media commentaries and their twisted anti-White nonsense. It pleases me tremendously, to see these businesses hitting the wall. This is something I have been hoping for, for years. And it pleases me intensely to see them just slamming straight into the wall. These companies have worked so hard to undermine Whites and White civilization. Check out the statistics and the collapse of these Liberal scum organisations. This is fabulous. The Star newspaper was, in relatively recent times, perhaps a decade ago, the biggest circulation newspaper in Africa according to one source I had. The Star might have had its origins with Jewish communism from a long time ago in South African history. I can't tell you how much it pleases me to see these organisations sinking, which have soundly hammered Whites. The Star, several years ago, would run front page news stories focusing about White criminals. None of these newspapers will be missed. Check out the chart below and be amazed at the total collapse of all these newspapers, so many of which turned on Whites. Jan]

The terrifying collapse of newspapers is here

Sooner or later, the economics simply no longer hold up.

Audit Bureau of Circulations data for the fourth quarter of 2020 is harrowing: there will be no rebound for print, and newspapers in particular.

The long, slow structural decline of the sector in South Africa has reached the point of no return. Circulations for daily newspapers are down by 40%, on average, over one year. Not included in this drop are the two titles that ceased publication as dailies during 2020: Die Volksblad (Bloemfontein) is now “digital only” while the DFA (Kimberley) now only publishes on Fridays.

In extreme cases, including many titles in the Independent Media stable, the declines are over 60%. Total circulation for the Pretoria News is down 80% since 2019. It sells just over 1 900 copies a day now.

Certain titles have fared better, with year-on-year declines of under 20%. Die Burger, which seems to be thriving in the vacuum being produced by the regression of the Cape Times and Cape Argus (both down 62%), saw circulation down only 7%.

‘Free circulation’

Some titles are being propped up by free circulation, where thousands of free copies are given away daily to help the papers justify their advertising rates. The Star has “free circulation” of 8 157 copies a day, which accounts for nearly four in 10 of its papers “sold”. If one considers paid circulation only, Business Day sells just 1 162 fewer copies a day than The Star.

Across a five-year period (since Q4 2016), the declines are even more dramatic.

Overall, circulation for the 17 daily papers in the country is 60% lower. Eight papers have seen declines of more than 60%, with Pretoria News down 87%, The Star down 75% and Cape Argus and Cape Times each down around 70%. The best performing title since 2016 is The Citizen, with a circulation decline of 32%.

Daily circulation Q4 2020 Q4 2019 Q4 2016 2020 vs 2019 2020 vs 2016
Beeld, Daily 23823 29021 41682 -18% -43%
Burger, Die 32829 35415 50258 -7% -35%
Business Day 13423 18201 22069 -26% -39%
Cape Argus 8932 23814 29796 -62% -70%
Cape Times 9643 25376 30781 -62% -69%
Citizen, The 30012 36966 44390 -19% -32%
Daily Dispatch 10827 13624 19649 -21% -45%
Daily News 8955 19606 24610 -54% -64%
Daily Sun 57459 99485 181330 -42% -68%
Herald, The 11533 14342 18010 -20% -36%
Isolezwe 39463 60651 90724 -35% -57%
Mercury, The 11250 21202 26165 -47% -57%
Pretoria News 1957 9942 14515 -80% -87%
Son 25666 43206 74103 -41% -65%
Sowetan 27736 55248 82624 -50% -66%
Star, The 22282 55889 84168 -60% -74%
Witness, The 8252 9935 13597 -17% -39%
Total 344042 571923 848471 -40% -59%

Of course, the decline is not new, nor is it unique to the South African market. Daily news has become a commodity and is freely available on the internet. Weekend papers have hardly fared much better. Circulation of the Sunday Times is down 44% over one year. Certain titles have done themselves few favours and are suffering material issues around credibility.

Still, cover prices continue to climb to cover the cost of printing and trucking papers around the country. But it’s the advertising that pays the real bills. As this has steadily dropped, newsrooms have been ruthlessly cut to the bone. This has kept titles profitable, albeit some very marginally so. There are no more cuts to be made.

What makes the stark declines in 2020 different is that for many titles, these new lows mean ever increasing advertising rates are simply no longer defendable.

Covid-19 will be blamed (one estimate puts the decline in print ad spend last year at over 30%), but the coming reckoning is inescapable for many.

Advertising agencies will measure the cost of reaching 1 000 people across various media types and products. With the dramatic drops over the past year, these numbers will have skyrocketed. This surely means that price-and-product advertising by the national retailers, the only real national advertising left in daily papers, will start to fall away as the costs of reaching every 1 000 people are no longer rational. Already, much of this is being sold at steep discounts simply to ensure annual commitments.

Once this happens, papers will shrink even further and the economics will reach a point where it no longer makes sense for many of these titles to publish. One or two may pivot to a free model to prop up circulation and defend the advertising they do have. (If Independent Media was run as a normal business, the two Cape titles would have been merged and Pretoria News would’ve likely been shut years ago.)

What happens when these 17 titles shrink to a dozen? This is a very real possibility.

In an era where fake news and propaganda is pervasive, there are fundamental reasons to be concerned.

Worse, how do we hope to hold government to account when there are simply no newsrooms or skills within them to do so?

(There are already precious few experienced journalists left.)

Reasons for hope

There are reasons to hope. Daily Maverick, Ground Up, amaBunghane, News24 and Netwerk24 as well as niche sites like Moneyweb, TechCentral and MyBroadband/BusinessTech have built sustainable, sizeable businesses online.

Increasingly, they are using business models that favour subscription. Online advertising will yield some revenue, but no one is able to run a news organisation on Google AdWords or programmatic advertising revenue. The numbers aren’t big enough. Added to this is the fact that print publishers lost much of the opportunity to convert their advertisers to digital long ago.

Two fundamental questions remain: how does the news industry convert many more than the few thousand people who already pay to become online subscribers? And how do digital publishers attract ad spend away from hyper-efficient Facebook and Google?


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