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    ABC Q3 2023: Newspaper category stabilises

    The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) of South Africa Q3 2023 for newspapers has been released.
    The ABC Q3 2023 newspaper category circulations have been released (Image credit: Lesley Svenson)
    The ABC Q3 2023 newspaper category circulations have been released (Image credit: Lesley Svenson)

    This is for the period spanning July 2023 to September 2023 on 21 November 2023.

    The ABC says it is cautiously optimistic about the performance observed in Quarter 3. "Notably, the circulation figures present a more stabilised
    outlook compared to previous quarter releases, bringing positive developments for various categories that experienced either marginal declines or, in some instances, increases."

    The newspaper sector stabilised with a modest decrease of -1.1% compared to Q2, resulting in a combined circulation of 6,315,145. Of this category, Free newspapers constitute 85%.

    Daily newspapers experienced a -5% decline in the composition of single-copy sales, while the composition of subscription sales increased by 2%. Weekly newspapers, conversely, saw a 7% rise in the composition of single-copy sales, though subscriptions declined by -1%. Weekend newspaper circulation, however, witnessed a -3% decrease.

    Daily newspapers

    This category had slim pickings with only five daily newspapers showing an increase on the previous quarter, and all with a decrease on the prior year.

    Continuing on its downward trajectory from Q2, Daily Sun was the category’s best loser, with a decrease of over 10% on the previous quarter. The best of the dailies is the Daily Dispatch with an increase of just over five percent.

    PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Daily NationMD, Mo-Sat61,14161,1411.7%-13.4%
    Burger, Die DailyMD, Mo-Fr25,27466325,937-0.9%-7.6%
    IsolezweMD, Mo-Fr21,0012221,023-5.9%-28.5%
    BukeddeMD, Mo-Sat20,39120,3915.1%-16.4%
    Beeld, DailyMD, Mo-Fr19,09166519,756-0.8%-8.0%
    New VisionMD, Mo-Fr16,42315016,5730.3%-6.3%
    Daily SunMo-Fr14,55519314,748-11.8%-52.3%
    Citizen, The (Daily)MD, Mo-Fr14,5349,40623,940-2.5%-3.6%
    Business DayMD, Mo-Fr12,3601,76814,128-3.4%-5.8%
    Times of SwazilandMD, Mo-Fr11,84211,842-1.9%-15.8%
    Daily DispatchMD, Mo-Fr9,90999110,9005.3%0.0%
    Star, TheMD, Mo-Fr9,1379,09218,229-24.3%-33.9%
    Herald, TheMD, Mo-Fr9,0911,04610,137-12.4%-3.3%
    Mercury, TheMD, Mo-Fr6,4193,0769,495-6.6%-16.2%
    Cape TimesMD, Mo-Fr6,2773,87110,148-3.3%-10.9%
    Cape ArgusMD, Mo-Fr5,6514,3129,963-2.3%-4.8%
    Witness, TheMD, Mo-Fr5,1321,1676,2990.7%-1.3%
    Daily NewsMD, Mo-Fr4,4802,9037,383-5.0%-19.3%
    Son (Daily)MD, Mo-FrChanged Sector0.0%

    Weekly newspapers

    Of the eight newspapers left in this category, of which six are South African, no weekly newspaper increased over the previous quarter.

    Daily Maverick had a double-digit increase on the prior year of over 23%, continuing its upward momentum from Q2 and Q1.

    PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Soccer LadumaWkly, Wed60,08460,084-2.0%-23.8%
    Ilanga2xW, Mo&Th27,17627,176-6.3%-23.7%
    SON WeeklyWkly, Th20,3265020,376Changed Sector
    Post, TheWkly, Wed12,6213,55116,172-5.5%-13.0%
    Daily Maverick,Wkly, Sat8,8401,20010,040-2.8%23.8%
    Mail & GuardianWkly, Fr7,9147,914-3.1%-6.8%
    Lesotho TimesWkly, Th7,5503507,900-8.2%10.2%
    Voice, TheWkly, Fr7,0117,0110.2%-9.1%

    Weekend newspapers

    As in Q2 and Q1, the category had six of its newspapers increase on the previous quarter, with Isolezwe ngeMpelaSonto double figures. Of these, five also showed increases on the prior year.

    The Weekend Star and Saturday Star had good increases of over eight percent on the previous quarter and increases on the prior year. Sunday Vision had a just over 20% increase on the prior year.

    PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Sunday TimesWknd68,50617,80886,314-6.8%-22.6%
    Sunday NationWkly, Sun63,76763,767-0.3%-19.0%
    Burger, Die SaturdayWkly, Sat33,50665434,160-3.6%-10.5%
    Beeld, SaturdayWkly, Sat23,45522423,679-2.2%-12.2%
    Isolezwe ngeMpelaSontoWknd22,802222,80414.9%5.6%
    Ilanga LempelaSontoWknd17,65817,6580.9%5.1%
    Sunday WorldWknd15,5852,70018,285-8.6%-27.0%
    City PressWknd13,62231713,939-6.2%-17.8%
    Sunday TribuneWkly, Sun13,5173,72817,245-3.3%-13.4%
    Sunday VisionWkly, Sun13,09515013,2452.5%20.1%
    Citizen, The (Saturday)Wkly, Sat8,986549,040-0.8%-7.3%
    Independent on SaturdayWkly, Sat8,0933,31711,410-4.9%-15.1%
    Weekend PostWknd7,2641,2198,483-1.9%5.4%
    Daily Dispatch Weekend Edition (formerly Saturday Dispatch)Wknd6,6221,1737,7952.8%-8.0%
    Weekend ArgusWknd5,3234,1689,491-9.3%-22.1%
    Weekend WitnessWkly, Sat4,7021,1505,8528.3%4.4%
    Saturday Star, TheWkly, Sat4,4793,8588,3378.7%1.2%
    Isolezwe ngeSontoWkly, SunRebranded

    Local newspapers

    Six local newspapers had an increase on the previous quarter and two on the prior year. There are no double figure increases, but also no double or big decreases on the previous quarter and prior year.

    PublicationFrequencyFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    Witbank News, FriWkly, Fr19,271-0.4%-2.1%
    Middelburg Observer, FriWkly, Fr16,953-1.1%-0.6%
    African ReporterWkly, Fr13,8110.2%-2.0%
    George Herald (Thursday)Wkly, Th8,625-0.6%-7.5%
    Mpumalanga NewsWkly, Wed7,222-2.6%-1.5%
    Paarl PostWkly, Th736,079-0.2%-12.4%
    Zululand Observer Weekend (Formerly Friday)Wkly, Fr4905,005-1.2%-15.4%
    Weslander, TheWkly, Th2014,854-0.8%-10.7%
    Worcester StandardWkly, Th74,536-3.2%-18.2%
    Limpopo MirrorWkly, Fr3,8962.4%-16.5%
    Mosselbay AdvertiserWkly, Fr3,671-3.1%-11.0%
    VaalweekbladWkly, Th2,9547.1%-3.7%
    Zululand Observer MondayWkly, Mon3202,7040.7%-13.0%
    South Cape Forum/Suid Kaap ForumWkly, Th1,461-0.9%-12.5%
    Knysna Plett HeraldWkly, Th1,1142.4%1.9%
    Talk of the TownWkly, Fr993-6.1%-24.0%
    Oudtshoorn CourantWkly, Fr8680.0%-2.4%
    StreeknuusWkly, Fr815-13.2%-19.1%
    Graaff Reinet AdvertiserWkly, Th8111.8%2.8%
    Bosvelder ReviewWkly, FrChanged Sector
    Daller, DieWkly, FrChanged Sector
    The CourierWkly, FrTerminated

    Free newspapers

    The largest category, Free Newspapers distribution remained fairly steady with a few incremental increases and decreases, with most newspapers holding steady.

    Soweto Urban News and Tygerburger Durbanville had good increases on the prior year, North Coast Courier had double-figure increases on both the previous quarter and prior year.

    PublicationFrequencyTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
    PE ExpressWkly, Wed119,9950.0%0.0%
    Soweto Urban NewsWkly, Th109,0990.0%7.7%
    Sedibeng SterWkly, Th90,9800.0%0.0%
    PlainsmanWkly, Wed89,5360.0%0.0%
    City VisionWkly, Th85,000-0.5%
    Rekord East/OosWkly, Tue78,578-0.4%-0.3%
    VukaniWkly, Wed78,0560.0%0.0%
    Mthatha ExpressWkly, Wed69,9950.0%0.0%
    TabletalkWkly, Wed67,8440.0%0.0%
    Merebank & Chatsworth TabloidWkly, Wed64,9800.0%0.0%
    North Coast Rising SunWkly, Wed64,8600.0%0.0%
    Randburg SunWkly, Th60,2820.3%0.7%
    Rekord CenturionWkly, Wed59,970-0.1%0.1%
    Phoenix TabloidWkly, Tue55,9800.0%0.0%
    Athlone NewsWkly, Wed54,1510.0%0.0%
    Kathorus MailF54,0080.0%0.0%
    Highway MailWkly, Fr53,938-0.2%0.2%
    The Springfield Weekly GazetteWkly, Th53,4800.4%1.9%
    Chatsworth Rising SunWkly, Tue53,0500.0%0.0%
    Sandton ChronicleWkly, Wed50,031-0.9%0.4%
    Southern MailWkly, Wed48,8530.0%0.0%
    Kempton ExpressWkly, Th48,7360.2%0.5%
    Southern Suburbs TatlerWkly, Wed47,2380.0%0.0%
    Roodepoort RecordWkly, Th46,481-0.1%-0.3%
    Bloemfontein Courant (formerly Krant)Wkly, Th44,8890.0%0.0%
    Overport Rising SunWkly, Th44,8500.0%0.0%
    Bedfordview & Edenvale NewsWkly, Wed44,445-0.4%0.4%
    Boksburg AdvertiserWkly, Tue43,2300.1%0.3%
    Ster, SouthWkly, Tue41,4600.0%0.0%
    BloemnuusWkly, Th41,184-1.2%-1.8%
    Rosebank Killarney GazetteWkly, Tue41,019-0.4%0.0%
    Ethekwini TimesWkly, Fr40,9800.0%0.0%
    Umlazi TimesWkly, Th40,9800.0%0.0%
    Diamond Fields AdvertiserWkly, Fr40,0000.0%
    People s Post Mitchells PlainWkly, Tue40,0000.0%-20.0%
    Echo EyethuWkly, Th39,9480.0%
    Rekord North/NoordWkly, Th39,9450.0%0.0%
    Benoni City TimesWkly, Th38,1170.2%0.1%
    Alberton RecordWkly, Wed37,561-0.3%-0.2%
    Go & ExpressWkly, Th37,2840.0%-0.2%
    Helderberg Gazette & District MailWkly, Wed36,830-0.4%-0.6%
    Fourways ReviewWkly, Wed36,765-0.3%-0.3%
    Noordkaap BulletinWkly, Th35,2920.1%0.0%
    VistaWkly, Th35,2490.0%-0.1%
    Tongaat & Verulam Tabloid (former Northern Star)Wkly, Tue34,9800.0%0.0%
    South Coast FeverWkly, Th34,800-0.4%-0.1%
    Ridge TimesWkly, Tue34,4000.0%0.0%
    Rekord MootWkly, Th33,558-0.1%0.0%
    North Coast CourierWkly, Wed33,32311.4%11.4%
    Ster, NorthWkly, Tue32,7600.0%0.0%
    Constantiaberg BulletinWkly, Wed31,3160.0%0.0%
    Tygerburger Elsies-, Eersterivier & RavensmeadWkly, Wed31,017-0.5%
    Northcliff & Melville TimesWkly, Tue30,9460.1%1.6%
    False Bay EchoWkly, Wed30,8790.0%0.0%
    Atlantic SunWkly, Wed30,7940.0%0.0%
    Eyethu Bay Watch (Formerly Baywatch)Wkly, Wed30,4700.0%1.4%
    BolanderWkly, Wed30,4610.0%0.0%
    Tygerburger Table ViewWkly, Wed30,0630.0%0.0%
    ExpressWkly, Wed30,026-0.1%-11.9%
    UD ExpressWkly, Wed29,9950.0%0.0%
    Dolphin Coast MailWkly, Wed29,9600.0%0.0%
    East Coast MailWkly, Wed29,9600.0%0.0%
    Maritzburg SunWkly, Wed29,9560.0%0.0%
    Public EyeWkly, Th29,9520.0%0.0%
    Rising Sun LenasiaWkly, Wed29,9250.0%0.0%
    Germiston City NewsWkly, Tue29,903-0.2%0.3%
    Issue MangaungWkly, Wed29,9000.0%0.0%
    Rekord MamelodiWkly, Fr29,888-0.2%-0.2%
    Umlazi EyethuWkly, Fr29,8810.0%0.0%
    Polokwane Observer.Wkly, Th29,7540.0%0.0%
    Rekord NowetoF28,630-1.1%-1.1%
    Midrand ReporterWkly, Th28,3930.1%0.6%
    People s Post Athlone & LandsdowneWkly, Tue28,0000.0%0.0%
    Northglen NewsWkly, Fr27,469-0.1%0.2%
    Berea MailWkly, Fr27,1370.1%0.1%
    Roodepoort Northsider (FormerlyNorthside ChronicleWkly, Th26,6540.0%-0.4%
    Krugersdorp NewsWkly, Wed26,4630.0%0.2%
    Springs AdvertiserWkly, Th25,9960.4%-0.1%
    Southern CourierWkly, Tue25,329-0.3%-0.2%
    People s Post Woodstock & CityWkly, Tue25,0000.0%0.0%
    People s Post Grassy Park & RetreatWkly, Tue25,0000.0%0.0%
    Eikestadnuus.Wkly, Th23,951-0.6%0.1%
    Intshonalanga EyethuWkly, Fr23,7800.0%0.0%
    Tygerburger DurbanvilleWkly, Wed22,0080.0%8.3%
    People s Post False BayWkly, Tue22,0000.0%0.0%
    Xpress TimesWkly, Wed21,9800.0%0.2%
    Issue, Eastern Free StateWkly, Th21,9000.0%0.0%
    Comaro ChronicleWkly, Wed20,943-0.2%0.1%
    Hermanus Times.Wkly, Wed20,7860.2%0.1%
    Rekord West News/Wes NuusF20,2000.0%0.0%
    Isolezwe IesiXhosaWkly, Th20,0000.0%
    People s Post Claremont/RondeboschWkly, Tue20,0000.0%0.0%
    People s Post Constantia/WynbergWkly, Tue20,0000.0%0.0%
    Kouga ExpressWkly, Th19,9950.0%0.0%
    Heidelberg/Nigel HerautWkly, Wed19,9790.0%1.9%
    Umgungundlovu Eyethu (former Umngeni)F19,9600.0%0.0%
    Bonus ReviewWkly, Wed19,8800.0%0.2%
    Merebank Rising SunWkly, Tue19,8500.0%0.0%
    Mid South Coast Rising SunWkly, Tue19,8500.0%0.0%
    UGU EyethuWkly, Wed19,850-0.4%0.0%
    South Coast SunWkly, Fr19,837-0.1%0.4%
    RepresentativeWkly, Mon19,6550.2%-3.1%
    Swartland Gazette (formerly Swartland Monitor).Wkly, Tue19,331-0.1%-1.4%
    Tygerburger BellvilleWkly, Wed19,3250.5%0.3%
    Brakpan HeraldWkly, Fr19,2260.3%1.3%
    Tygerburger KuilsrivierWkly, Wed19,0790.0%0.0%
    Rekord Central/SentraalF18,487-0.1%-0.1%
    Randfontein / Westonaria Herald.Wkly, Tue18,245-0.1%0.4%
    Tygerburger BrackenfellWkly, Wed18,2440.1%0.0%
    TygerBurger De GrendelWkly, Wed18,1170.2%-0.1%
    Southlands SunWkly, Fr17,751-0.2%0.7%
    SteelburgerWkly, Th17,7000.0%0.0%
    TygerBurger Tyger ValleyWkly, Wed17,0850.0%0.0%
    Tygerburger MilnertonWkly, Wed17,0510.0%-0.2%
    Potchefstroom Herald.Wkly, Fr16,9380.0%0.0%
    Northern EyethuMtly15,8880.0%0.2%
    Tygerburger KraaifonteinWkly, Wed15,3600.1%-10.1%
    Weskus NuusF14,9950.0%0.0%
    Alex NewsF14,7900.0%0.0%
    Tygerburger GoodwoodWkly, Wed14,0620.0%0.0%
    Tygerburger ParowWkly, Wed14,0620.0%0.0%
    Queensburgh NewsF12,932-0.7%0.0%
    Vrystaat KroonF12,4760.5%1.4%
    Breederivier Gazette.Wkly, Wed12,225-1.0%-1.6%
    Carletonville Herald.Wkly, Fr11,9900.0%0.7%
    Zululand Eyethu (formerly Eshowe Watch)Mtly11,9720.0%1.0%
    Village TalkWkly, Wed11,9460.0%0.0%
    Highvelder, TheWkly, Fr11,7600.0%0.0%
    HerrieWkly, Th11,031-12.6%-12.8%
    Daily Sun On the GO - ECWkly, Th10,9950.0%0.0%
    Greytown GazetteWkly, Mon9,9800.0%0.0%
    Uthukela EyethuWkly, Th9,9640.1%0.7%
    Hazyview HeraldF9,7950.0%0.0%
    Corridor GazetteF9,7100.0%0.0%
    Daily Sun On the GO - FSWkly, Th7,9950.0%0.0%
    YstervarkWkly, Th7,9250.0%0.0%
    Parys GazetteWkly, Fr7,4800.0%0.0%
    Sentinel NewsWkly, Wed7,1450.0%0.0%
    Daily Sun On the GO - KZNWkly, Th5,9950.0%0.0%
    Capricorn Voice ..Q5,8790.0%0.0%
    Daily Sun On the GO - WCWkly, Th4,9950.0%0.0%
    The HiltonMtly4,9600.0%0.0%
    Free State SunWkly, Th4,9370.0%3.9%
    Northern Review WeekendWkly, Fr4,8360.0%-0.7%
    Standerton Advertiser.Wkly, Tue4,7500.0%0.0%
    Mpumalanga MirrorF2,990
    Bosvelder ReviewWkly, Th2,736
    Maluti NewsWkly, Fr1,5950.0%-36.1%
    IDISKI TIMESWkly, TueTerminated
    Inner City GazetteWkly, ThResigned
    City Vision (Khayalitsha)Wkly, ThRebranded
    City Vision (Langa/Gugulethu)Wkly, ThRebranded
    City Vision (Lwandle / Nomzamo) former Kasi Vision HelderbergWkly, ThRebranded
    Maritzburg EchoWkly, ThRebranded
    Msunduzi Eyethu (former Edendale)Wkly, ThRebranded
    Tygerburger Eersterivier/Blue DownsWkly, WedRebranded
    Tygerburger Elsiesrivier & RavensmeadWkly, WedRebranded
    Coastal WeeklyWkly, ThCeased Publishing
    Stanger WeeklyWkly, WedCeased Publishing

    (Tables credit: Andre Rademan)

    About Danette Breitenbach

    Danette Breitenbach is a marketing & media editor at Previously she freelanced in the marketing and media sector, including for Bizcommunity. She was editor and publisher of AdVantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B. She has a Masters in Financial Journalism from Wits.
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