34 yearbook 2019 most have morphed into titles aimed at South Africa’s diverse population rather than classified by race – and the issue of diversity is focused largely on stabilising and growing circulation. “I think diversification is pretty much a mantra that publishers have lived with for a long time and is really an everyday part of strategy now in terms of being wherever our audience is at,” says Debbie McIntyre, head of integrated media solutions at Spark Media. Maintaining brand loyalty while meeting audience needs is paramount for titles determined to survive digital’s impact on print. “Most important is to understand your demographics – you can’t be everything to everyone – stick to your guns and don’t deviate from your editorial mix; give them what you know works,” maintains MOVE! editor, Nonzwakaze Cekete. “You lose your brand identity in trying to appeal to as many people as you can, because what interests me does not necessarily interest another 35-year-old, or reflects where we are in life.” That the sector is suffering is irrefutable. Circulation figures have been dropping year on year. AMP (Associated Media Publishing) recently announced that this past December issue of Marie Claire would be its last, as the media house would not be renewing its licencing agreement with the French publishing group. Independent black-owned media house Ndalo Media is closing down, with the Sowetan Sunday World reporting in mid-November last year that the company was being sued by CTP Printers for R13 million debt accumulated for printing costs. Yet the outlook, according to major industry role players, is not all bleak. Julia Raphaely, CEO of AMP, is optimistic about leveraging titles to embrace the digital age – and focusing on diversity in terms of reinventing the business model and relooking revenue streams by generating innovative solutions. “Publishing companies need to have more diverse offerings for their customers: digital, video, data and analytics, marketing services, e-commerce, events. There is a need for revenue streams that don’t rely solely on advertisers and readers. “Adopting new technology – and determining how to best integrate it – proved the company’s biggest challenge in maintaining market relevance,” says Raphaely. “Changing mindsets was also a challenge but with the right people in place, team players who are agile and embrace change, it’s all possible.” There are bonuses to embracing change while maintaining editorial integrity, posits Cekete, pointing out that MOVE!, though aimed at women, has a notable male readership of about 27%. Complementing, rather than competing, with digital disruption has also allowed them to grow a younger audience. “MOVE! meets readers on different platforms: we’ve found that our older, matured women (35+) still have fears around digital, which caters largely to our younger audience – so we divide our readership to cater for older, traditional on print, and entice the young ones online.” Cosmopolitan SA launched another enticing online innovation this year, partnering with e-commerce site Takealot to offer readers the opportunity to shop within its pages by scanning barcodes on mobile devices. “Something I don’t hear enough of MaGaZINES SOUTH AFRICA Minette Ferreira, GM of Media24 Lifestyle Nonzwakaze Cekete, editor of MOVE!
Yearbook Jan 2019
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