Giant Media company Media24 is considering shutting down five magazines and two newspapers, outsourcing and reducing the frequency of its remaining monthly magazines, taking two newspapers digital-only, and reducing staff in related support services.
In a statement, the media company said it will start consultations with staff today.
“However, the pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing and long-term structural decline in print media, resulting in a devastating impact on our own already fragile print media operations with significant declines in both circulation and advertising since April. For many of our print titles the benefits of prior interventions to offset the structural declines and keep them on the shelf no longer exist and they’ve run out of options in this regard,” said Ishmet Davidson, CEO of Media24.
The planned interventions are expected to affect around 510 staff members (with a proposed reduction of close on 660 positions) out of a total staff complement of 2 971, largely across the print media and distribution divisions, and include:
Plans for magazine portfolio:
- Close Move! and the Hearst portfolio publications, which include Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling, Runner’s World.
- Publish DRUM in digital format only.
- Enter into a licensing agreement with editor Helen Schöer to publish the parenting titles (Baba & Kleuter and Your Pregnancy) independently.
- Outsource the editorial production of the remaining monthly portfolio of Fairlady, SARIE, SA Hunter/Jagter, True Love, tuis | home, Weg! | go! and Weg! Ry & Sleep | go! Drive & Camp, as well as the fortnightly Kuier.
- Reduce the frequency of the monthly magazines to six issues per year, and eight issues for tuis | home, SA Hunter/Jagter, and Man Magnum.
The flagship weeklies Huisgenoot, YOU and Landbouweekblad will continue to be produced and published in-house.
- Closing Son op Sondag and Sunday Sun.
- Closing the Eastern Cape edition of Son.
- Publishing Volksblad and Die Burger Oos-Kaap as weekday digital editions only, available as complete PDFs on Netwerk24.
- Closing four community newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal: Amanzimtoti Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Hillcrest Fever and Maritzburg Fever.
- Consolidating Noordkaap and Kalahari Bulletin into a single newspaper, Noordkaap Bulletin, and Kroonnuus and
- Vrystaat Nuus into Vrystaat Kroonnuus. At the same time, incorporating Theewaterskloof Gazette into Hermanus Times.
- Accelerating the digital transition of The Witness.
Reducing staff in our media distribution business as well as in divisional and corporate services departments related to the proposed reduced print media operations.