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ABC Q3 2017 results continue declining trend

The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) third quarter results released this morning show the continuation of the declining trend seen in Q1 and Q2 of this year, both in the press and magazine categories.
ABC Q3 2017 results continue declining trend
© Ruggiero Scardigno -

Press overview

In the press category the total newspaper circulation declined by 1.5% on the previous quarter, and six percent on the prior year.

Daily newspapers

Daily newspapers declined on the previous quarter, by 3.9% and almost 12% (11.9%) on the prior year.

Of the dailies Isolezwe increased by 0.4% on the previous quarter, but still saw a decline of 9.5% over the prior year. Gauteng-based The Star and The Pretoria News declined over the previous quarter and over the prior year, as did The Times, which Tiso Blackstar recently announced it would be closing. The paper showed the biggest decline in this category, declining by 23.7% over the prior year, followed by The Pretoria News and The Star, which declined by 17.3% and 12.4% over the prior year, respectively.

Over the previous quarter The Pretoria News showed the biggest decline quarter (8.7%) with The Star and The Times neck to neck with a decline of 6.3% and 6.2% (respectively).

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
Daily Sun155,908-5.5%-15.0%
Daily Nation125,092-1.2%-6.2%
Star, The75,288-6.3%-12.4%
Son (Daily)66,645-7.5%-8.9%
Burger, Die Daily46,379-2.7%-6.1%
The Times.45,098-6.2%-23.7%
Citizen, The (Daily)44,2160.2%-3.8%
Namibian, The38,967-3.6%-9.8%
Beeld, Daily37,560-6.0%-13.4%
Cape Times29,608-4.4%-4.8%
Cape Argus27,640-4.8%-8.1%
New Vision26,9300.0%-3.3%
Mercury, The25,129-4.7%-2.4%
Daily News23,283-1.2%-8.0%
Times of Swaziland21,903-2.6%1.7%
Business Day20,030-0.1%-15.2%
Herald, The18,172-3.6%-10.9%
Daily Dispatch18,086-3.8%-12.9%
Daily Monitor17,7363.5%-4.9%
Volksblad - Daily14,259-3.0%-9.2%
Taifa Leo14,0937.2%2.4%
Witness, The12,637-3.7%-6.9%
Pretoria News12,570-8.7%-17.3%
Zambia Daily Mail7,806-21.5%-33.8%
Diamond Fields Advertiser7,563-4.5%-8.5%

Weekly newspapers

While increasing on the previous quarter by 3.8%, weekly newspapers decreased by 6.5% on the prior year. Soccer Laduma almost completely reversed its previous quarter decline of 8.2% in Q2 (over Q1), with an 8.1% increase. It, however, decreased by 4.6% year on year (vs Q2’s increase of 6.5% over the prior year).

The Lesotho Times followed the same trend, increasing by 2.8% on the prior quarter, but dropping 5.5% over the prior year. The Post was the big loser in the category, showing a decline of 7.6% over the prior quarter and 14.7% over the prior year.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
Soccer Laduma281,9508.0%-4.6%
Post, The36,703-7.5%-14.7%
Mail & Guardian27,766-5.6%-3.5%
Voice, The15,708-4.9%-13.5%
Botswana Guardian11,8892.1%0.7%
Botswana Gazette , The10,359-2.5%-5.9%
The Monitor (Formerly Mmegi Monitor)7,993-5.4%-8.2%
Lesotho Times7,7922.8%5.6%
Midweek Sun, The7,578-6.4%1.2%
Mmegi Reporter, The6,131-3.9%-7.0%

Weekend newspapers

The weekend newspapers did not fare any better and continued the declining trend set by the dailies and weeklies, with a 3.4% decline on the previous quarter, and the biggest overall decline in the press category of 12.1% decline on the prior year.

Two titles increased their quarter percentage over the prior quarter, Ilanga Langesonto (2.3%) and Sunday World (0.7%).

Sunday World also laid claim to the biggest decline on the prior year with a drop of 22.1%. The Pretoria News Saturday declined by double figures both over the prior quarter (11.1%) and prior year (16.6%). Ilanga Langesonto declined 11.7% over the prior year.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
Sunday Times260,781-0.7%-8.0%
Sunday Nation144,5541.5%-3.1%
Sunday Sun75,906-3.1%-25.5%
Isolezwe ngeSonto67,499-1.5%-10.1%
Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo65,213-5.2%-13.8%
City Press62,962-8.3%-25.0%
Burger, Die Saturday59,048-3.4%-6.0%
Sunday World54,8360.7%-22.1%
Weekend Argus51,651-1.5%-4.6%
Sunday Tribune51,510-2.3%-15.8%
Saturday Star, The44,929-7.1%-12.2%
Son op Sondag (formerly Sondag Son)38,066-7.3%-12.7%
Ilanga Langesonto37,7462.3%-11.7%
Beeld, Saturday36,962-3.7%-8.3%
Independent on Saturday35,092-5.9%-5.4%
Citizen, The (Saturday)32,646-3.4%-1.9%
Sunday Vision17,599-1.1%-5.2%
Weekend Post16,458-6.1%-7.6%
Saturday Dispatch16,372-0.6%-7.2%
Volksblad - Saturday13,470-4.4%-7.6%
Taifa Jumapili12,9789.2%5.8%
Weekend Witness12,555-3.8%-9.1%
Sunday Monitor11,4760.6%-5.5%
The Southern Cross7,744-3.5%-6.7%
Pretoria News Saturday7,530-11.1%-16.6%
Sunday Mail5,213-37.6%-41.0%

Local newspapers

These remained static compared to the previous quarter, with a 6.6% decline on the prior year. The biggest upward move is from Tembisan, with a massive increase over the prior quarter by 64.7%. This reflected a large drop in circulation in the previous quarter. This quarter’s figure is in line with that of the previous year.

While Grocott’s Mail showed the biggest decline – 45.7% – over the prior year, continuing its downward trend from Q2, when it also declined significantly by 50% over the prior year. The paper did show a slight increase over the prior quarter of 4.5%, as opposed to its Q2 decline of 26.5%. Grocott’s Mail claimed PDF replica editions in the previous year.

The Limpopo Mirror (6.4%) and Rustenburg Herald (7.1%) both increased their percentage over the prior quarter and prior year – The Mirror by 6.4% and 3.4 % and The Herald by 7.1% and 4.6 %, continuing to build on the increases it gained in Q2. The Tembisan lost 4.1% on the prior year.

Publication (top 20)Circulation% change quarter% change year
African Reporter22,0752.6%-0.6%
Witbank News, Fri18,5312.1%-5.5%
Rustenburg Herald18,2707.1%4.6%
George Herald (Thursday)14,963-3.3%-5.1%
Middelburg Observer, Fri14,3890.8%-5.6%
Klerksdorp Rekord13,490-2.2%-7.2%
Lowvelder, The / Laevelder, Die (Friday)13,001-7.7%-5.9%
South Coast Herald12,204-1.9%-5.3%
Lowvelder, The / Laevelder, Die ( Tuesday)12,008-2.8%-7.1%
Paarl Post11,787-0.7%-0.1%
The Mail10,6644.6%-2.8%
Weslander, The10,206-1.2%-4.4%
Worcester Standard8,612-3.4%-1.5%
Limpopo Mirror7,9976.4%3.4%
Mpumalanga News7,8463.8%-3.3%
Mosselbay Advertiser7,192-3.9%-6.3%
District Mail6,788-3.5%-11.7%
Capricorn Voice5,910-11.9%-15.8%

Free newspapers

While showing a decrease of 1.2% on the previous quarter, local newspapers increased by 3.8% on the prior year.

New member Public Eye Free State had a 46.4% increase on the prior quarter. The big winner in this category, Umgungundlovu Eyethu, grew by 42.2% over the prior quarter and 41.1% over the prior year. This follows its change to Umgungundlovu Eyethu from Umngeni Eyethu as well as the fact that it is now covering a larger area.

Other movers included Dolphin Coast Mail and East Coast Mail, with both titles increasing by 8.3% over the prior quarter and the prior year.

Publication (top 20)Circulation% change quarter% change year
PE Express119,9220.0%13.2%
Tame Times - Weekly108,4370.7%Rebranded
Sedibeng Ster100,9850.0%0.0%
Msunduzi News99,9900.0%0.0%
People s Post Mitchells Plain83,3400.0%0.0%
Rekord East/Oos78,642-0.2%-0.2%
Randburg Sun60,0190.5%0.6%
Rekord Centurion60,010-0.1%-0.1%
Mthatha Express59,9870.0%0.0%
The Rising Sun.59,9600.0%0.0%
Athlone News55,9370.0%0.0%
Kempton Express55,5070.2%0.5%
Highway Mail54,5550.0%0.0%
Northern News - Kraaifontein, Brackenfel, Kuils River53,5000.0%0.0%
Phoenix Tabloid51,8250.7%0.7%
Roodepoort Record51,467-0.1%0.7%

Magazine overview

Total magazine circulation declined by 2.6% on the previous quarter, and by 13.5% on the prior year.

Consumer magazines

While consumer magazines increased by 5.2% on the prior year, this increase is due to several titles changing sector from custom to consumer. If these moves are discounted, then the category actually declined by 7.6% on the prior year. The category decreased by 2.1% on the previous quarter.

Hello Johannesburg showed the biggest increases over the prior quarter (51.6%) and over the prior year (60.3%). This follows an increased bulk requested – domestic distribution because of a special event in September 2017.

The quarter’s other biggest percentage increases are from Elle, of 38.5%, which increased back issues, bringing it in line with the prior year, as did Bike SA (22.1%). Golf Digest increased by 21.8% off increased business subscriptions compared to the previous quarter, and back issues compared to the prior year. Caravan & Outdoor Life increased both copy sales and back issues to show an increase of 21.4%

The other titles biggest percentage change over the prior year are Finweek (58.3%), which increased PDF replica editions below 50% of cover price and Golf Digest (53.3%).

Showing a decline over the prior year are The Gardener/Die Tuinier (11.1%) and Glamour (3.9%).

Publication (top 50)Circulation% change quarter% change year
Sports Club153,840-4.5%Changed sector
Post Matric134,2000.0%New member
Kids Super Club118,6727.0%Changed sector
My Kitchen.98,0174.6%Changed sector
Tuis Home80,1017.2%3.7%
The Official Safeways K53 Learner's and Driver's Manual74,4750.0%New member
Woman and Home73,294-4.7%-6.0%
Kuier Combo70,5390.0%-2.5%
Living Space.68,827-3.1%Changed sector
Modern Athlete68,669-7.3%29.6%
Tech.66,088-0.6%Changed sector
Rooi Rose63,818-7.7%-6.2%
Expectant Mothers Guide55,6470.0%0.8%
Child Magazine - Johannesburg.55,2410.0%Changed freq.
MamaMagic Milestones50,2090.0%0.3%
Vroue Keur48,536-7.9%-11.0%
SA Hunter/Jagter47,931-0.5%9.1%
Child Magazine - Cape Town.47,8370.0%Changed freq.
SA Garden and Home47,299-8.7%-8.1%
Finesse.45,9730.0%Changed freq.
The Great Outdoors Guide / Die Groot Buitelewegids43,4610.0%-20.4%
Motor.41,035-1.4%Changed sector
Child Magazine Pretoria.40,0500.0%Changed freq.
Child Magazine - Durban.40,0450.0%Changed freq.
The Gardener / Die Tuinier38,80613.7%-11.1%
SA Home Owner38,536-0.5%-3.7%
Good Housekeeping / Goeie Huishouding37,753-18.0%-21.6%
go! Drive & Camp and Weg! Ry & Sleep37,413#VALUE!Rebranded
Business Brief.33,1110.0%Changed sector
Landbouweekblad Boerekos33,0420.0%-10.1%
Weg / Go Platteland32,7290.0%-7.6%
Conde Nast House & Garden32,5950.0%-5.2%
Women's Health.31,520-3.7%-11.4%
Weg Namibië / Go Namibia30,5850.0%-13.8%
Signature Golf30,5260.0%New Member

B2B magazines

The business to business (B2B) magazines, while increasing by one percent on prior year, the category declined by two percent on the previous quarter. Despite this Public Sector Manager, Stockfarm, Travel News Weekly and Risk Africa all showed an increase over the prior quarter. Public Sector Manager had the biggest increase of 37.4%, followed by Stockfarm (18.2%), Travel News Weekly (15%) and Risk Africa (14.2%).

Publication (top 30)Circulation% change quarter% change year
The Greeff Magazine49,5000.0%1.0%
Industrial Buyer39,8300.0%2.6%
Agri Inc. Die Boer / The Farmer.28,6780.0%2.4%
Public Sector Manager19,72837.4%7.6%
South African Business.19,2990.0%New Member
Walls & Roofs in Africa17,6240.0%3.8%
Floors in Africa17,5850.0%3.0%
SA Graan / Grain16,803-2.5%-2.6%
Careers SA16,0000.0%-1.4%
African Decisions15,8430.0%-2.9%
South African Business Intergrator15,1510.0%102.0%
Seeff Property Pages - Altantic Seaboard & City Bowl14,9000.0%0.0%
Eastern Cape Business..14,7750.0%New member
The Meetings & Event Planner (former SA Conference Directory)14,7730.0%0.7%
Gauteng Companies..14,7190.0%New member
KwaZulu Natal Business..14,6290.0%New member
Western Cape Business,14,5750.0%New member
Think Sales.11,6550.0%11.9%
Civil Engineering11,595-1.3%2.2%
Automotive Business Review,11,4800.0%Changed freq.
Engineering News11,213-1.0%3.9%
Mining Weekly10,731-0.2%2.9%
SA Building Review10,6800.0%3.4%
Medical Chronicle10,1580.5%-3.1%
Impumelelo SA's Top Empowerment Co.9,8830.0%16.7%
The Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Handbook9,8410.0%141.4%
The International FMCG Retailer.9,818804.1%317.4%
Northern Cape Business..9,7900.0%New member
Salga Voice of Local Government9,7850.0%-0.8%

Public Sector Manager and Travel News Weekly also showed increases over the prior year (7.6% and 7.9% respectively), while Stockfarm and Risk Africa had decreases, with Risk Africa decreasing by 24% and Stockfarm by 6%.

Custom magazines

The decline of 25.7% on the prior year is a result of several titles changing sector from custom to consumer. Excluding these changes, the category declined by 20% on the prior year. The decline was also further impacted by several large titles which were discontinued. The category also declined by 3.3% on the prior quarter.

Publication (top 30)Circulation% change quarter% change year
DSTV Premium Mag / Tydskrif526,548-20.5%-31.9%
Club Magazine500,357-4.4%-16.6%
Edgars Club Magazine494,696-5.9%-28.9%
Jet Club484,2470.0%-20.4%
Fresh Living / Kook en Kuier461,6212.7%-1.3%
Clicks Club Card.393,4760.0%-21.8%
Spur's Secret Tribe Magazine249,8000.0%0.0%
Ackermans Club (formerly A-Plus)215,3920.0%0.6%
Forum Tydskrif165,3750.0%24.9%
Solidarity Magazine / Solidariteit Tydskrif109,0830.0%3.8%
Balanced Life94,329-1.8%1.1%
Life Healthcare86,6470.0%-2.0%
Sea Rescue81,1520.0%8.6%
Soccer Club75,097-1.4%-2.6%
Signature : Diners Club64,3940.0%-0.2%
Best of Cape Town Central City.59,7950.0%0.0%
Medi - Clinic Family59,3250.0%-21.9%
AA Traveller59,1730.0%2.0%
Sonke Magazine,47,6880.0%Changed freq.
Pam Golding Properties: Imagine.33,7850.0%Changed sector
Accountancy SA32,377-3.4%-9.2%

Free magazines

The free magazines category was static compared to the previous quarter, but declined by 32.4% on the prior year, the result of a large circulating title whose membership was terminated.

Web traffic

101 titles have submitted web traffic data.

Title (top 20)SectorUnique browsersWeb page impressions
The CitizenDaily Newspapers98,73210,537,928
Daily SunDaily Newspapers94,41414,140,311
SonDaily Newspapers24,3373,564,469
City PressWeekend Newspapers21,9331,337,340
SA RugbyConsumer Magazine17,281917,903
CarConsumer Magazine14,565876,738
Good Housekeeping/ Goeie HuishoudngConsumer Magazine10,371571,093
Destiny MagazineConsumer Magazine10,178515,027
Roodepoort RecordFree Newspaper8,921461,624
GetawayConsumer Magazine8,873448,814
Rekord CenturionFree Newspaper7,113314,934
Rekord East/OosFree Newspaper6,892325,279
Kempton ExpressFree Newspaper6,551339,869
Krugersdorp NewsFree Newspaper5,876321,849
Northglen NewsFree Newspaper5,626281,383
BonaConsumer Magazine4,703255,201
VrouekeurConsumer Magazine4,421299,025
Destiny ManConsumer Magazine4,285211,012
Highway MailFree Newspaper4,093193,486

Email newsletter net delivery

36 titles have submitted net delivery data.

Publication (top 20)Circulation% change quarter% change year
Getaway Magazine92379-0.9%-1.4%
Good Taste507960.0%New Member
Homemakers Fair Johannesburg47035-7.8%New Member
Marie Claire46869-4.8%7.8%
Sarie Kos458440.0%New Member
Weg / Go431932.6%80.9%
Men's Health42398-12.9%-30.5%
Kick Off40105-0.6%-1.2%
Women's Health36614-5.7%-36.5%
Bicycling326450.0%New Member
House and Leisure3246110.7%24.3%
Runner's World322278.7%37.9%
go! Drive & Camp and Weg! Ry & Sleep29856New Member
Voelgoed273980.0%New Member
Popular Mechanics25480-1.5%-5.3%

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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