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Newspapers: ABC Q1 2024: The slow steady downward trickle continues

The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) figures ABC Q1 2024 for newspapers have been released, with a 1.6% decrease in circulation from the previous quarter to this quarter.
Source: © Nations Online  The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) has released the Q1 for newspapers
Source: © Nations Online Nations Online The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) has released the Q1 for newspapers

Despite this decline, the newspaper sector has demonstrated relative stability this quarter.

Overall (newspapers and magazines) there has been a 7.5% decline year-on-year in the ABC circulation figures for the first quarter of 2024.

This, says the ABC, underscores the ongoing economic challenges and shifts in consumer behaviours impacting the media industry.

"The current economic climate, coupled with the evolving preferences of consumers, has led to reduced discretionary spending on media. This, along with the growing prominence of digital platforms and alternative information sources, continues to reshape how audiences engage with media, posing particular hurdles for traditional print media outlets," says a statement by the ABC on the release of the Q1 2024 results.

Daily newspapers

Five dailies had an increase over the previous quarter. There were no increases over the prior year. Isolezwe had the only increase on the previous quarter that was above five percent. Most of the increases were incremental.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the decreases on the previous quarter with losses from Business Day (and Times of Swaziland, which falls outside of South Africa), The Witness and Daily Sun over five percent. The Cape Argus and Cape Times’ losses were in double figures.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Daily NationMD, Mo-Sat56,19356,1930.2%-11.0%
Burger, Die DailyMD, Mo-Fr23,51165024,161-7.5%-12.4%
Beeld, DailyMD, Mo-Fr18,77759219,3691.9%-7.9%
BukeddeMD, Mo-Sat18,47418,474-2.8%-6.9%
IsolezweMD, Mo-Fr17,7542,49920,2536.5%-18.8%
New VisionMD, Mo-Fr15,80010615,9061.9%-4.3%
Citizen, The (DailyMD, Mo-Fr13,4269,00622,432-2.1%-8.2%
Daily SunMo-Fr11,69619311,889-5.8%-49.2%
Times of SwazilandMD, Mo-Fr10,88810,888-8.0%-18.1%
Business DayMD, Mo-Fr10,3851,92612,311-9.5%-15.3%
Daily DispatchMD, Mo-Fr9,85017510,025-0.7%-6.9%
Herald, TheMD, Mo-Fr9,51550910,0240.0%-8.4%
Mercury, TheMD, Mo-Fr5,6613,0838,744-3.6%-17.6%
Star, TheMD, Mo-Fr5,14613,28618,4323.4%-28.0%
Witness, TheMD, Mo-Fr4,7741,0925,866-7.1%-5.1%
Cape TimesMD, Mo-Fr4,1983,4057,603-17.3%-30.4%
Daily NewsMD, Mo-Fr4,0652,9637,028-1.9%-15.2%
VolksbladMo-Fr3,9883,988New Member
Cape ArgusMD, Mo-Fr3,4173,5336,950-18.9%-32.9%
Son (DailyMD, Mo-FrChanged Sector

Weekly newspapers

Of the eight weekly newspapers, three had increases on the previous quarter. As with the dailies, the increases were incremental, but the losses ran into double figures for most.

As with Q4 2023, Daily Maverick had an increase on the previous quarter and the prior year. The weekly continues its run of increases from Q1 2023 through to Q1 2024.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Soccer LadumaWkly, Wed41,696241,698-13.5%-33.9%
Ilanga2xW, Mo&Th24,82524,8251.0%-20.6%
SON WeeklyWkly, Th18,5714918,620-5.1%
Post, TheWkly, Wed12,2003,69315,8930.8%-10.7%
Daily MaverickWkly, Sat9,1611,66210,8234.8%8.6%
Mail & GuardianWkly, Fr6,0486,048-21.1%-20.7%
Lesotho TimesWkly, Th5,9632006,163-10.8%-18.2%
Voice, TheWkly, Fr5,7755,775-9.9%-17.6%

Weekend newspapers

Of the 19 newspapers in this category, two, Daily Dispatch Weekend Edition –(formerly Saturday Dispatch) and Weekend Post ceased publishing.

The good news was slim, with only five newspapers showing an increase on the previous quarter and four an increase on the prior year. In general, the increases were below five percent.

Again as in other categories some of the decreases on the previous quarter were substantial.

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Sunday NationWkly, Sun57,80257,802-1.3%-12.2%
Sunday TimesWknd57,5153,24460,759-2.3%-34.0%
Burger, Die SaturdayWkly, Sat34,70463935,3432.2%-5.5%
Beeld, SaturdayWkly, Sat23,88722324,1104.7%-7.3%
Isolezwe ngeMpelaSontoWknd19,822219,824-4.7%2.9%
Ilanga LempelaSontoWknd15,01115,011-6.6%1.5%
Weekend VisionWkly, Sun13,05410013,15427.7%6.2%
Sunday WorldWknd12,5712,50015,0710.3%-32.4%
Sunday TribuneWkly, Sun12,4063,47215,878-4.9%-14.8%
City PressWknd12,09335812,451-1.9%-24.6%
Citizen, The (SaturdayWkly, Sat8,131748,2052.0%-12.8%
Independent on SaturdayWkly, Sat7,2073,05210,259-7.7%-18.5%
Weekend WitnessWkly, Sat4,3581,2615,619-0.8%4.2%
Weekend ArgusWknd3,5043,5327,036-23.7%-42.5%
Saturday Star, TheWkly, Sat3,4252,9506,375-7.2%-22.8%
Isolezwe ngeSontoWkly, SunRebranded
Daily Dispatch Weekend Edition (formerly Saturday DispatchWkndCeased publishing
Weekend PostWkndCeased Publishing

Local newspapers

The second largest category under newspapers, local newspapers had a majority of increases on the previous quarter compared to decreases. However many newspapers changed sector in this category. Only four newspapers showed an increase on the prior year

PublicationFrequencyPaid circulationFree circulationTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
Witbank News, FriWkly, Fr21,09121,0914.3%7.7%
Observer MiddelburgWkly, Fr18,63318,6334.0%8.7%
LowvelderWkly, Th16,90516,905Changed Sector
African ReporterWkly, Fr13,41513,415-0.4%-1.8%
George Herald (ThursdayWkly, Th8,4678,4670.5%-5.8%
Mpumalanga NewsWkly, Wed7,7707,7705.8%0.2%
Paarl PostWkly, Th5,982856,06711.3%-8.2%
The Kokstad AdvertiserMtly5,0295,72110,750Changed Sector
Weslander, TheWkly, Th4,7951944,98915.9%-1.8%
South Coast Herald incorporating Ugu DistrictWkly, Fr4,7831,5386,321Changed Sector
Zululand Observer Weekend (Formerly FridayWkly, Fr4,1934904,683-0.4%-10.9%
Limpopo MirrorWkly, Fr3,6693,6690.6%-14.9%
Mosselbay AdvertiserWkly, Fr3,6413,6410.9%-10.9%
VaalweekbladWkly, Th2,7032,703-5.7%-6.6%
Zululand Observer MondayWkly, Mon2,0783202,398-2.1%-13.3%
Observer DallerWkly, Fr1,5681,568Changed Sector
South Cape Forum/Suid Kaap ForumWkly, Th1,3941,3940.9%-17.2%
Die PosWkly, Fr1,2851,1272,412Changed Sector
Knysna Plett HeraldWkly, Th1,2741,27421.7%9.4%
Newcastle AdvertiserWkly, Fr1,1532,9864,139Changed Sector
Talk of the TownWkly, Fr885885-14.2%-24.8%
StreeknuusWkly, Fr8738735.3%-12.2%
ZoutpansbergerWkly, Th8656601,525Changed Sector
Ladysmith GazetteWkly, Fr8331,8872,720Changed Sector
Excelsior News / NuusWkly, Fr8171,9252,742Changed Sector
Oudtshoorn CourantWkly, Fr812812-4.4%-5.6%
CourierWkly, Th7461,2542,000Changed Sector
Graaff Reinet AdvertiserWkly, Th7267267.4%-14.4%
Vryheid HeraldWkly, Th3942,0882,482Changed Sector
South Coast Herald-Mid South Coast EditionWkly, Fr276,0166,043Rebranded
Worcester StandardWkly, ThRebranded
Bosvelder ReviewWkly, FrChanged Sector
Observer DallerWkly, FrChanged Sector

Free newspapers

The largest category under newspapers, free newspapers also had a large number of increases on the previous quarter. However these were small and there were also many free newspapers that, although they did not show a loss, showed no movement. There were no increases on the previous quarter above five percent.

PublicationFrequencyTotal circulation% change quarter% change year
PE ExpressWkly, Wed120,2030.2%0.2%
Soweto Urban NewsWkly, Th109,1000.0%0.0%
Sedibeng SterWkly, Th90,9800.0%0.0%
PlainsmanWkly, Wed89,6560.1%0.1%
City VisionWkly, Th85,0000.0%
VukaniWkly, Wed78,1760.2%0.2%
Mthatha ExpressWkly, Wed70,0020.0%0.0%
TabletalkWkly, Wed67,9640.2%0.2%
Merebank & Chatsworth TabloidWkly, Wed64,9800.0%0.0%
North Coast Rising SunWkly, Wed64,8600.0%0.0%
Randburg SunWkly, Th60,1850.1%0.0%
Rekord CenturionWkly, Wed60,1390.5%0.5%
Phoenix TabloidWkly, Tue55,9800.0%0.0%
Athlone NewsWkly, Wed54,2710.2%0.2%
Highway MailWkly, Fr53,974-0.1%0.4%
Kathorus MailF53,8440.7%-0.3%
The Springfield Weekly GazetteWkly, Th53,4800.0%1.9%
Chatsworth Rising SunWkly, Tue53,0500.0%0.0%
Sandton ChronicleWkly, Wed50,1220.3%-0.1%
Southern MailWkly, Wed48,9730.2%0.2%
Kempton ExpressWkly, Th48,499-0.3%-0.8%
Southern Suburbs TatlerWkly, Wed47,3580.3%0.3%
Roodepoort RecordWkly, Th46,376-0.2%-0.7%
Bloemfontein Courant (formerly KrantWkly, Th44,8900.0%0.0%
Overport Rising SunWkly, Th44,8500.0%0.0%
Bedfordview & Edenvale NewsWkly, Wed44,225-0.9%-1.3%
Boksburg AdvertiserWkly, Tue43,1990.2%0.2%
Rekord Far EastWkly, Tue42,971
Tygerburger Mitchells PlainWkly, Wed41,802
Ster, SouthWkly, Tue41,4600.0%0.0%
BloemnuusWkly, Th41,046-0.1%-1.6%
Ethekwini TimesWkly, Fr40,9800.0%0.0%
Umlazi TimesWkly, Th40,9800.0%0.0%
Rosebank Killarney GazetteWkly, Tue40,831-0.6%-0.7%
Rekord North/NoordWkly, Th39,9800.0%0.1%
Echo EyethuWkly, Th39,9480.0%
Benoni City TimesWkly, Th38,7660.0%2.0%
Alberton RecordWkly, Wed37,7230.3%0.1%
Helderberg Gazette & District MailWkly, Wed36,897-0.1%-0.3%
Fourways ReviewWkly, Wed36,8340.3%0.0%
Rekord East/OosWkly, Tue35,939-54.5%-54.4%
Noordkaap BulletinWkly, Th35,3160.1%0.2%
VistaWkly, Th35,245-0.1%0.0%
Tongaat & Verulam Tabloid (former Northern StarWkly, Tue34,9800.0%0.0%
North Coast CourierWkly, Wed34,914-0.1%16.8%
South Coast FeverWkly, Th34,5000.0%-0.9%
Ridge TimesWkly, Tue34,4000.0%0.0%
Go & ExpressWkly, Th33,666-8.2%-9.7%
Rekord MootWkly, Th33,5700.0%0.0%
Ster, NorthWkly, Tue32,7600.0%0.0%
Constantiaberg BulletinWkly, Wed31,4360.4%0.4%
Tygerburger Elsies-, Eersterivier & RavensmeadWkly, Wed31,0330.0%
False Bay EchoWkly, Wed30,9990.4%0.4%
Atlantic SunWkly, Wed30,9140.4%0.4%
Standard Breederivier GazetteWkly, Th30,7252.5%
Northcliff & Melville TimesWkly, Tue30,666-0.4%-0.3%
BolanderWkly, Wed30,5810.4%0.4%
UD ExpressWkly, Wed30,1770.6%0.6%
Tygerburger Table ViewWkly, Wed30,0720.0%0.0%
Diamond Fields AdvertiserWkly, Fr30,0000.0%-25.0%
Dolphin Coast MailWkly, Wed29,9600.0%4.0%
East Coast MailWkly, Wed29,9604.0%4.0%
Maritzburg SunWkly, Wed29,9560.0%0.0%
Public EyeWkly, Th29,9520.0%0.0%
Rekord MamelodiWkly, Fr29,9500.0%0.0%
Rising Sun LenasiaWkly, Wed29,9250.0%0.0%
Germiston City NewsWkly, Tue29,9210.4%0.6%
Issue MangaungWkly, Wed29,9000.0%0.0%
Umlazi EyethuWkly, Fr29,8810.0%0.0%
Polokwane ObserverWkly, Th29,7530.0%0.1%
Rekord NowetoF28,9500.0%0.0%
Midrand ReporterWkly, Th28,3650.1%0.8%
People s Post Athlone & LandsdowneWkly, Tue28,0000.0%0.0%
Northglen NewsWkly, Fr27,436-0.1%0.3%
Berea MailWkly, Fr27,121-0.1%0.3%
Roodepoort Northsider (FormerlyNorthside ChronicleWkly, Th26,6680.5%-0.4%
Krugersdorp NewsWkly, Wed26,4750.0%0.1%
Springs AdvertiserWkly, Th26,0320.3%0.9%
Southern CourierWkly, Tue25,4550.3%1.0%
People s Post Woodstock & CityWkly, Tue25,0000.0%0.0%
People s Post Grassy Park & RetreatWkly, Tue25,0000.0%0.0%
EikestadnuusWkly, Th24,2071.3%1.6%
Intshonalanga EyethuWkly, Fr23,7800.0%0.0%
Tygerburger DurbanvilleWkly, Wed22,038-0.2%8.5%
People s Post False BayWkly, Tue22,0000.0%0.0%
Xpress TimesWkly, Wed21,9800.0%1.1%
Issue, Eastern Free StateWkly, Th21,9000.0%0.0%
Comaro ChronicleWkly, Wed20,9000.2%-0.4%
Hermanus TimesWkly, Wed20,787-0.2%0.5%
Swartland Gazette (formerly Swartland MonitorWkly, Tue20,4693.1%6.4%
Kouga ExpressWkly, Th20,3141.6%1.6%
Rekord West News/Wes NuusF20,200-0.1%0.0%
ExpressWkly, Wed20,002-33.4%-41.3%
Isolezwe IesiXhosaWkly, Th20,0000.0%0.0%
People s Post Claremont/RondeboschWkly, Tue20,0000.0%0.0%
People s Post Constantia/WynbergWkly, Tue20,0000.0%0.0%
Heidelberg/Nigel HerautWkly, Wed19,9790.0%1.7%
Bonus ReviewWkly, Wed19,8860.0%0.0%
Merebank Rising SunWkly, Tue19,8500.0%0.0%
Mid South Coast Rising SunWkly, Tue19,8500.0%0.0%
UGU EyethuWkly, Wed19,8500.0%0.0%
South Coast SunWkly, Fr19,771-0.5%0.0%
Lowvelder ExpressWkly, Th19,760
Tygerburger BellvilleWkly, Wed19,343-0.4%0.3%
Brakpan HeraldWkly, Fr19,2130.3%-0.7%
Tygerburger KuilsrivierWkly, Wed19,0870.1%0.1%
Rekord Central/SentraalF18,5000.0%0.0%
Tygerburger BrackenfellWkly, Wed18,2680.2%-0.3%
Randfontein / Westonaria HeraldWkly, Tue18,234-0.1%0.2%
TygerBurger De GrendelWkly, Wed18,1150.0%0.2%
Steelburger NewsWkly, Th17,7150.1%0.1%
Southlands SunWkly, Fr17,693-0.3%0.2%
TygerBurger Tyger ValleyWkly, Wed17,0940.0%0.0%
Tygerburger MilnertonWkly, Wed17,0750.0%0.1%
Potchefstroom HeraldWkly, Fr16,9300.0%0.0%
Weskus NuusF15,5410.2%3.6%
Tygerburger KraaifonteinWkly, Wed15,358-0.2%-10.1%
RepresentativeWkly, Mon14,814-20.7%-24.8%
Alex NewsF14,7830.0%0.0%
Tygerburger GoodwoodWkly, Wed14,0740.0%0.1%
Tygerburger ParowWkly, Wed14,0740.0%0.1%
Queensburgh NewsF12,958-0.3%0.8%
Vrystaat KroonF12,352-0.7%-0.3%
Village TalkWkly, Wed11,9460.0%0.0%
Carletonville HeraldWkly, Fr11,930-0.5%0.2%
Highvelder, TheWkly, Fr11,7900.3%0.3%
Daily Sun On the GO - ECWkly, Th10,9950.0%0.0%
HerrieWkly, Th10,255-7.9%-19.8%
Uthukela EyethuWkly, Th9,9950.1%2.9%
Greytown GazetteWkly, Mon9,885-1.0%-1.0%
Hazyview HeraldF9,7950.0%0.0%
Daily Sun On the GO - FSWkly, Th7,9950.0%0.0%
YstervarkWkly, Th7,9250.0%0.0%
Corridor ExpressF7,720
Observer ExpressWkly, Fr7,715
Parys GazetteWkly, Fr7,4800.0%0.0%
Sentinel NewsWkly, Wed7,2651.7%1.7%
Daily Sun On the GO - KZNWkly, Th5,9950.0%0.0%
Capricorn VoiceQ5,8850.0%0.1%
Daily Sun On the GO - WCWkly, Th4,9950.0%0.0%
The HiltonMtly4,9600.0%0.0%
Free State SunWkly, Th4,9370.0%0.0%
Northern Review WeekendWkly, Fr4,8360.0%-0.3%
Standerton AdvertiserWkly, Tue4,7500.0%0.0%
Bosvelder ReviewWkly, Th2,8821.8%
EstcourtWkly, Tue2,4983.3%
Corridor GazetteF1,760-81.9%-81.9%
Maluti NewsWkly, Fr1,5950.0%-36.1%
IDISKI TIMESWkly, TueTerminated
Breederivier GazetteWkly, WedRebranded
City Vision (KhayalitshaWkly, ThRebranded
City Vision (Langa/GugulethuWkly, ThRebranded
City Vision (Lwandle / Nomzamo) former Kasi Vision HelderbergWkly, ThRebranded
Maritzburg EchoWkly, ThRebranded
Msunduzi Eyethu (former EdendaleWkly, ThRebranded
People s Post Mitchells PlainWkly, TueRebranded
Tygerburger Eersterivier/Blue DownsWkly, WedRebranded
Tygerburger Elsiesrivier & RavensmeadWkly, WedRebranded
Eyethu Bay Watch (Formerly BaywatchWkly, WedNo Submission
Northern EyethuMtlyNo Submission
Zululand Eyethu (formerly Eshowe WatchMtlyNo Submission
Mpumalanga MirrorFNo Issue
Coastal WeeklyWkly, ThCeased Publishing
Stanger WeeklyWkly, WedCeased Publishing
Umgungundlovu Eyethu (former UmngeniFCeased publishing

(Tables by Bizcommunity, 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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