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Newspapers ABC Q3 2021: Industry fails to show upward momentum

The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) of South Africa called 2020 the print industry's "annus horribilis", and with the first two quarters of 2021 showing a better performance from newspapers, it hoped the industry was beginning to show some renewed life.
Newspapers ABC Q3 2021: Industry fails to show upward momentum

However, after a promising start to Q2, with a gain of 1% quarter on quarter, Q3 2021 has failed to continue this upward momentum, with little or no publications showing significant increases the previous quarter.

Daily newspapers

Only one daily showed an increase on the previous quarter (Business Day - 6.8%) out of 23. With 20 dailies showing a decrease on the previous quarter, the category had very little to celebrate. Unlike Q2 when the decreases were small, this quarter’s deceases a bit more substantial. The hardest hit was Isolezwe (-17.3). The Citizen (Daily) and the Son (Daily) had decreases from 8.1% to 7.8%.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Daily NationMD, Mo-Sat75,08175,081-3.6%0.5%
Daily SunMo-Fr42,68015542,835-7.8%-25.9%
IsolezweMD, Mo-Fr32,8522332,875-17.3%
BukeddeMD, Mo-Sat29,74829,748-0.1%-15.7%
Burger, Die DailyMD, Mo-Fr29,52265730,179-2.1%-7.7%
Son (Daily)MD, Mo-Fr21,7504521,795-8.1%-11.2%
Beeld, DailyMD, Mo-Fr21,62493622,560-4.1%-7.8%
Citizen, The (Daily)MD, Mo-Fr20,9496,36627,315-8.0%-3.5%
New VisionMD, Mo-Fr17,81027818,088-5.3%-8.0%
Times of SwazilandMD, Mo-Fr17,50217,502-1.7%-3.7%
Star, TheMD, Mo-Fr13,96711,80225,769-5.5%
Business DayMD, Mo-Fr12,0093,49915,5086.8%23.6%
Herald, TheMD, Mo-Fr10,39764911,046-3.4%-5.6%
Daily DispatchMD, Mo-Fr10,04415010,194-6.5%-7.6%
Mercury, TheMD, Mo-Fr9,2302,19511,425-4.4%
Cape TimesMD, Mo-Fr8,1483,57311,721-2.8%
Cape ArgusMD, Mo-Fr7,5493,52711,076-0.8%
Witness, TheMD, Mo-Fr7,1591537,312-4.7%-13.9%
Daily NewsMD, Mo-Fr7,1412,3559,496-3.1%
Pretoria NewsMD, Mo-Fr1,5727902,362-1.0%
Taifa LeoMD, Mo-SatResignedResignedResigned798800.0%
Volksblad - DailyMo-FrDigital OnlyDigital OnlyDigital OnlyDigital Only

Weekly Newspapers

The category had a better showing than the dailies. In a reversal of fortunes, the Midweek Sun increased 20.7% on the previous quarter after it was the biggest loser in the category in Q2.

The Diamond Fields Advertiser continued its good run from Q2 with an increase of 12.3% on the previous quarter. Soccer Laduma also increased by 4.1% on the previous quarter. Unfortunately, that was where the good news ended, as the rest of the category (only South African weeklies) showed losses.

On the upside the losses were in single figures, with The Voice the biggest loser with a decrease on the previous quarter of 6.5%.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Soccer LadumaWkly, Wed96,51796,5174.1%3.6%
Ilanga2xW, Mo&Th41,08641,086-6.1%-11.0%
Post, TheWkly, Wed17,6672,54420,211-6.3%
Mail & GuardianWkly, Fr10,1321,33311,465-5.9%2.1%
Voice, TheWkly, Fr9,5709,570-6.5%-8.5%
Lesotho TimesWkly, Th6,5536,553-0.9%0.9%
Diamond Fields Advertiser.Wkly, Fr5,945666,01112.3%
BOTSWANA GUARDIANWkly, Wed5,8765,8760.9%
The Midweek SunWkly, Wed5,0575,05720.7%

Weekend newspapers

The trend of few gains and many declines continued in the weekend category, with only the Sunday Vision increasing on the previous quarter. Sunday Times increased on the prior year. The rest of the category showed declines on the previous quarter, with Pretoria News Saturday, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo and Isolezwe ngeSonto all showing double figures declines.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Sunday TimesWknd87,64230,883118,525-0.8%11.7%
Sunday NationWkly, Sun86,68686,686-1.6%-5.1%
Burger, Die SaturdayWkly, Sat41,96066842,628-1.5%-7.2%
Beeld, SaturdayWkly, Sat29,34319829,541-2.2%-9.0%
Sunday WorldWknd26,8854,11831,003-5.5%-3.0%
Isolezwe ngoMgqibeloWkly, Sat25,523325,526-15.3%
City PressWknd22,75528623,041-9.9%-16.9%
Isolezwe ngeSontoWkly, Sun21,418421,422-16.3%
Ilanga LangesontoWknd20,05720,057-5.5%-12.2%
Sunday TribuneWkly, Sun18,8422,97421,816-2.6%
Sunday VisionWkly, Sun14,41927814,69720.6%-1.2%
Citizen, The (Saturday)Wkly, Sat12,2533612,289-7.4%-20.4%
Independent on SaturdayWkly, Sat11,9342,95114,885-0.9%
Weekend ArgusWknd10,3002,76313,063-0.4%
Daily Dispatch Weekend Edition (formerly Saturday Dispatch)Wknd8,9974849,4811.2%-0.4%
Weekend PostWknd8,8483009,148-1.6%-7.1%
Weekend WitnessWkly, Sat6,7461266,872-4.4%-13.0%
Saturday Star, TheWkly, Sat5,9833,2659,2480.2%
Pretoria News SaturdayWkly, Sat91618934-21.0%
Taifa JumapiliWkly, SunResignedResignedResigned704200.0%
Volksblad - SaturdayWkly, SatDigital OnlyDigital OnlyDigital OnlyDigital Only

Local newspapers

This category fared a bit better with seven local newspapers increasing over the previous quarter. The standouts were Witbank News (Fri), Middelburg Observer, (Fri)> and Mpumalanga News.

Knysna Plett Herald, Estcourt and Midlands News, Vryheid Herald and Streeknuus all declined with double figures on the previous quarter.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
African ReporterWkly, Fr16,25816,2581.1%-7.0%
Witbank News, FriWkly, Fr13,82613,82622.3%67.7%
Middelburg Observer, FriWkly, Fr12,92212,92219.0%63.2%
George Herald (Thursday)Wkly, Th10,45310,453-5.2%1.4%
Paarl PostWkly, Th7,071107,081-1.4%7.6%
Mpumalanga NewsWkly, Wed6,6576,65712.0%106.9%
Weslander, TheWkly, Th6,102246,126-3.3%-11.5%
Worcester StandardWkly, Th5,72235,725-4.4%7.5%
Zululand Observer Weekend (Formerly Friday)Wkly, Fr5,3335,333-5.6%-10.8%
Mosselbay AdvertiserWkly, Fr4,8874,887-7.8%-4.5%
Limpopo MirrorWkly, Fr4,5214,521-10.3%-16.0%
District MailWkly, Th3,543213,564-4.4%-15.8%
VaalweekbladWkly, Th3,4691563,6250.5%16.3%
Zululand Observer MondayWkly, Mon3,0563,056-9.5%-15.4%
RepresentativeWkly, Fr2,4542,454-10.2%-38.8%
Newcastle and District AdvertiserWkly, Fr2,3052,305-6.3%-26.7%
South Cape Forum/Suid Kaap ForumWkly, Th1,9791,979-8.3%-19.7%
Northern Review WeekendWkly, Fr1,7381,7385.3%
Daller, DieWkly, Fr1,6041,6044.7%16.4%
Talk of the TownWkly, Fr1,5661,566-10.8%-22.0%
Knysna Plett HeraldWkly, Th1,3701,370-25.1%-24.6%
StreeknuusWkly, Fr1,3471,347-20.0%44.2%
Bosvelder ReviewWkly, Fr1,3281,328-11.5%
Northern Natal CourierWkly, Fr1,2651,265-7.8%-3.4%
Ladysmith GazetteWkly, Fr1,2401,240-12.7%-17.2%
The CourierWkly, Fr1,1261,1260.0%0.0%
Oudtshoorn CourantWkly, Fr1,0511,051-6.5%-23.5%
Graaff Reinet AdvertiserWkly, Th1,0291,029-0.5%-13.3%
Vryheid HeraldWkly, Fr695695-24.6%-41.9%
Estcourt and Midlands NewsWkly, Fr477477-22.7%-32.1%
Streeknuus DelmasWkly, FrResignedResignedResignedResigned
Hermanus TimesWkly, ThChanged SectorChanged SectorChanged SectorChanged Sector

Free newspapers

By far the largest category, 35 free newspapers showed a decline on the previous quarter, with 18 showing a gain on the previous quarter. On the previous quarter the biggest decline came from Umgungundlovu Eyetu, which previously had the best gain in Q2. The biggest gain was from Capricorn Voice (7.7%).

Most of this category had a no increase and no decline on the previous quarter.

PublicationFrequencyTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
PE ExpressWkly, Wed119,9610.0%0.0%
Soweto Urban NewsWkly, Th104,852
Sedibeng SterWkly, Th90,9800.0%0.0%
PlainsmanWkly, Wed89,5360.0%-0.2%
Rekord East/OosWkly, Tue79,014-0.1%0.1%
VukaniWkly, Wed78,0560.0%13.3%
Mthatha ExpressWkly, Wed69,9700.0%0.0%
TabletalkWkly, Wed67,8440.0%17.5%
North Coast Rising SunWkly, Wed64,8600.0%8.4%
Rekord CenturionWkly, Wed60,172-0.1%-0.1%
Randburg SunWkly, Th59,5520.0%35.5%
Phoenix TabloidWkly, Tue55,9800.0%0.0%
Highway MailWkly, Fr54,2340.0%7.0%
Athlone NewsWkly, Wed54,1510.0%24.4%
Kathorus MailF54,0090.0%0.7%
Chatsworth TabloidWkly, Wed52,4800.0%0.0%
The Springfield Weekly GazetteWkly, Th52,4800.0%5.0%
Chatsworth Rising SunWkly, Tue51,5500.0%0.0%
City Vision (Khayalitsha)Wkly, Th50,5870.1%211.4%
People s Post Mitchells PlainWkly, Tue50,0000.0%107.2%
Sandton ChronicleWkly, Wed49,652-0.5%25.2%
Southern MailWkly, Wed48,8530.0%19.8%
Kempton ExpressWkly, Th48,466-0.3%5.8%
Southern Suburbs TatlerWkly, Wed47,2380.0%18.3%
Roodepoort RecordWkly, Th46,342-0.2%-1.2%
Bloemfontein Courant (formerly Krant)Wkly, Wed44,8890.0%24.9%
Bedfordview & Edenvale NewsWkly, Wed44,139-0.6%3.9%
Boksburg AdvertiserWkly, Tue43,4940.0%8.4%
Overport Rising SunWkly, Th42,3500.0%5.0%
Ster, SouthWkly, Tue41,4600.0%0.0%
Ethekwini TimesWkly, Fr40,9800.0%0.0%
Umlazi TimesWkly, Th40,9800.0%0.0%
BloemnuusWkly, Th40,876-0.5%15.9%
Rosebank Killarney GazetteWkly, Tue40,8450.0%3.1%
Rekord North/NoordWkly, Th39,9990.0%0.0%
Benoni City TimesWkly, Tue38,8320.0%7.3%
Alberton RecordWkly, Wed37,577-0.8%2.5%
Go & ExpressWkly, Th37,386-7.5%2.1%
Fourways ReviewWkly, Wed36,778-0.2%5.8%
South Coast FeverWkly, Th36,6414.9%4.9%
VistaWkly, Th35,1650.0%0.6%
Noordkaap BulletinWkly, Th35,1370.1%
Tongaat & Verulam Tabloid (former Northern Star)Wkly, Tue34,9800.0%0.0%
Maseru MetroWkly, Th34,9080.7%333.3%
Ridge TimesWkly, Fr34,400-1.6%
ExpressWkly, Wed33,9690.0%17.5%
Rekord MootWkly, Th33,5700.0%0.1%
Maritzburg EchoWkly, Th33,361-10.3%-18.8%
Ster, NorthWkly, Tue32,760-0.4%0.0%
Germiston City NewsWkly, Tue32,5197.5%16.4%
City Vision (Langa/Gugulethu)Wkly, Th32,5000.0%100.0%
Southern StarWkly, Fr31,9800.0%0.0%
Helderberg Gazette.Wkly, Tue31,6760.1%0.7%
Tygerburger Table ViewWkly, Wed31,4880.0%0.3%
Constantiaberg BulletinWkly, Wed31,3160.0%20.0%
False Bay EchoWkly, Wed30,8790.0%22.5%
Atlantic SunWkly, Wed30,7940.0%22.6%
Msunduzi Eyethu (former Edendale)Wkly, Th30,717-12.1%-12.1%
BolanderWkly, Wed30,4610.0%20.3%
Northcliff & Melville TimesWkly, Tue30,096-0.4%23.0%
Eyethu Bay Watch (Formerly Baywatch)Wkly, Wed30,0620.0%0.0%
Komani Karoo ExpressMtly29,9800.0%0.0%
UD ExpressWkly, Wed29,9750.0%-0.1%
Dolphin Coast MailWkly, Wed29,9600.0%
East Coast MailWkly, Wed29,9600.0%
Public EyeWkly, Th29,9520.0%0.0%
Rekord MamelodiWkly, Fr29,9500.0%3.8%
Rising Sun LenasiaWkly, Wed29,9250.0%-2.3%
Issue MangaungWkly, Wed29,9000.0%0.0%
Umlazi EyethuWkly, Fr29,8800.0%23.4%
Polokwane Observer.Wkly, Th29,7570.0%
Rekord NowetoWkly, Fr28,9500.0%189.8%
Coastal WeeklyWkly, Th28,786-2.9%-2.4%
North Coast CourierWkly, Wed28,782-3.8%-4.0%
Maritzburg SunWkly, Wed28,417-5.1%-5.1%
Stanger WeeklyWkly, Wed28,083-4.1%-4.0%
Midrand ReporterWkly, Th28,071-0.2%22.9%
People s Post Athlone & LandsdowneWkly, Tue28,000
Tygerburger Eersterivier/Blue DownsWkly, Wed27,751-0.9%-0.5%
Northglen NewsWkly, Fr27,5460.0%2.2%
Berea MailWkly, Fr27,1480.0%6.9%
Roodepoort Northsider (FormerlyNorthside ChronicleWkly, Th26,848-0.3%-0.2%
Krugersdorp NewsWkly, Wed26,351-1.0%-0.9%
Springs AdvertiserWkly, Wed26,059-0.1%4.7%
Southern CourierWkly, Tue25,353-0.4%-10.5%
People s Post Woodstock & CityWkly, Tue25,000
People s Post Grassy Park & RetreatWkly, Tue25,000
Eikestadnuus.Wkly, Th23,8320.6%4.0%
Intshonalanga EyethuWkly, Fr23,7800.0%-0.1%
People s Post False BayWkly, Tue22,0000.0%0.5%
Xpress TimesWkly, Wed21,9760.0%4.9%
Issue, Eastern Free StateWkly, Th21,9000.0%0.0%
Tygerburger DurbanvilleWkly, Wed20,9270.0%0.6%
Comaro ChronicleWkly, Wed20,8201.4%4.3%
Hermanus Times.Wkly, Wed20,5670.1%
Rekord West News/Wes NuusWkly, Fr20,2000.0%81.4%
People s Post Claremont/RondeboschWkly, Tue20,0000.0%14.7%
People s Post Constantia/WynbergWkly, Tue20,0000.0%14.7%
Kouga ExpressWkly, Th19,9610.0%0.0%
South Coast SunWkly, Fr19,9210.0%7.0%
Bonus ReviewWkly, Wed19,850-0.1%
Merebank Rising SunWkly, Tue19,8500.0%0.1%
Mid South Coast Rising SunWkly, Tue19,8500.0%11.4%
UGU EyethuWkly, Wed19,8500.0%33.0%
Tygerburger BrackenfellWkly, Wed19,4070.1%0.7%
Tygerburger KuilsrivierWkly, Wed19,3340.0%0.5%
Heidelberg/Nigel HerautWkly, Wed19,2960.1%
Tygerburger BellvilleWkly, Wed19,2190.1%0.5%
Swartland Gazette (formerly Swartland Monitor).Wkly, Tue19,184-2.0%47.1%
Brakpan HeraldWkly, Tue18,9870.1%6.2%
Tygerburger KraaifonteinWkly, Wed18,6830.0%0.5%
TygerBurger De GrendelWkly, Wed18,5700.0%0.5%
Rekord Central/SentraalWkly, Fr18,5000.0%123.2%
Tygerburger MilnertonWkly, Wed18,453-1.4%-0.9%
Randfontein / Westonaria Herald.Wkly, Tue18,195-1.4%-1.3%
Southlands SunWkly, Fr17,764-0.1%5.0%
SteelburgerWkly, Th17,7000.0%0.0%
TygerBurger Tyger ValleyWkly, Wed17,4610.1%0.7%
Potchefstroom Herald.Wkly, Fr16,9380.0%-0.2%
Tygerburger Elsiesrivier & RavensmeadWkly, Wed16,020
Umgungundlovu Eyethu (former Umngeni)F15,960-20.0%60.2%
Northern EyethuMtly15,8570.0%0.0%
Eastern Cape Rising SunWkly, Tue14,99641.0%
Weskus NuusF14,9800.0%0.2%
Alex NewsF14,8100.0%23.0%
Tygerburger ParowWkly, Wed14,3680.0%0.7%
Tygerburger GoodwoodWkly, Wed14,0910.0%0.7%
Queensburgh NewsF13,039-0.1%1.5%
Vrystaat KroonF12,202-0.1%
Carletonville Herald.Wkly, Fr11,9700.0%0.1%
Breederivier Gazette.Wkly, Wed11,9670.4%3.3%
HerrieWkly, Th11,955-6.0%
Village TalkWkly, Wed11,9460.0%0.0%
Zululand Eyethu (formerly Eshowe Watch)Mtly11,8490.0%0.0%
Highvelder, TheWkly, Fr11,760-0.7%44.3%
Daily Sun On the GO - ECWkly, Th10,9950.0%
City Vision (Lwandle / Nomzamo) former Kasi Vision HelderbergWkly, Th10,0000.0%167.0%
Uthukela EyethuWkly, Th9,940-0.4%0.2%
Greytown GazetteWkly, Mon9,9000.0%11.2%
Hazyview HeraldF9,7950.0%0.0%
Corridor GazetteF9,710-0.9%-0.9%
Daily Sun On the GO - FSWkly, Th7,9950.0%
YstervarkWkly, Th7,9000.0%
Parys GazetteWkly, Fr7,4800.0%-0.1%
Sentinel NewsWkly, Wed7,1450.0%18.1%
Daily Sun On the GO - KZNWkly, Th5,9950.0%
Capricorn Voice ..Q5,8208.7%
Daily Sun On the GO - WCWkly, Th4,9950.4%
Inner City GazetteWkly, Th4,9750.8%0.8%
The HiltonMtly4,9600.0%0.0%
Free State SunWkly, Th4,7500.0%0.0%
Standerton Advertiser.Wkly, Fr4,750-18.8%
Maluti NewsWkly, Fr2,4950.0%0.0%
Diepkloof Urban NewsWkly, FrRebranded
Eldorado Urban NewsWkly, FrRebranded
Kalahari Buletin (Formerly Kuruman Bulletin)Wkly, ThRebranded
KroonnuusWkly, TueRebranded
NoordkaapWkly, WedRebranded
People s Post AthloneWkly, TueRebranded
People s Post City EditionWkly, TueRebranded
People s Post Grassy ParkWkly, TueRebranded
People s Post LandsdowneWkly, TueRebranded
People s Post RetreatWkly, TueRebranded
People s Post WoodstockWkly, TueRebranded
Pimville Urban NewsWkly, FrRebranded
Protea Urban NewsWkly, FrRebranded
Tygerburger ElsiesrivierWkly, WedRebranded
Tygerburger Ravensmead/BelharWkly, WedRebranded
Vrystaat Nuus/NewsWkly, WedRebranded
Soweto ExpressMtlyNo audit report
Tame Times - WeeklyWkly, TueNo Audit report
Taxi TimesFNo audit report
The Weekly Free StateWkly, ThNo audit report
The Rising Sun.Wkly, WedMerged with Phoenix Sun
The Olifants NewsFFees outstanding
Theewaterkloof Gazette (Formerly Kontreinuus Gaz.)Wkly, TueDiscontinued
CXpressWkly, WedCeased Publishing
TribuneWkly, TueCeased Publishing

*Non-South African titles from Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, and Lesotho not included.

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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