The number of ABC members has grown from 768 to 828. This is still a very small percentage when you consider the myriad of print titles available in South Africa.
This is made up of 507 magazine titles and 313 newspaper titles which collectively boast a massive circulation of 37 872 906 for the fourth quarter of 2010. That is an average circulation of 45 740 per member.

Newspapers have enjoyed a growth of 178 000 copies quarter on quarter and this was driven by the free distribution newspapers.

Daily newspapers saw a decrease of 120 000 copies compared to the Q4 2009 but this was better than Q3 2010. It seems that the decline has come from the English daily newspapers with the Afrikaans and the vernacular papers holding their own. The following graph reflects a 4 year trend based on Q4 figures.

When we evaluate the specifics for Q4 2010, it is interesting to note that 13 newspapers declined in circulation, one increased and five remained static. The biggest losser was Daily Sun with a loss of 15.81% year on year. This newspaper however remains the highest circulating newspaper with and ABC figure of 414 192 copies which is 3.5 times higher than its closest competitor (Daily Son).

The Citizen was the newspaper that increased its circulation, but some 19.27% year on year. This increase can be attributed to their revised pricing strategy.

Weekly newspapers have seen a dramatic turn around with an increase of 14% year on year. This increase is attributed to three newspapers in particular: Soccer Laduma (+15.82%), Ilanga (+25.76%) and Mail & Guardian (+11.14%). The only newspaper to reflect a decline was UmAfrika (-22%).

Weekend Newspapers have seen an overall decline of 2.3% which is less than the previous quarter. Six titles increased, six remained static and 11 declined. A very different picture to the daily newspapers. One of the main contributing facts for the overall decline is due to the fact that there has been a decrease in subscriptions. This, no doubt, is directly associated with the economic environment we find ourselves. The English titles have fared the worst compared to the Afrikaans and vernacular titles as the graph below clearly reflects.

It is interesting however to note that Sunday Times recorded a decline of 6.93%, but Rapport’s decline was greater at 10.20%. The Afrikaans sector’s strong growth is due to Sondag’s incredible growth of 64% (all in copy sales).

Community newspapers have remained static.

Free newspapers saw a decrease of 1% year on year.

Hybrid newspapers have been included for this first time. These are newspapers that are predominantly paid for subscriptions and has been driven specifically by The Times. The lower cover price strategy has resulted in the results.

Moving onto Magazines, the total magazine category grew by 10.5% compared to Q4 2009 and this was driven by new entrants and some real growth. Consumer magazines reflected an increase of 5.5% compared to Q3.

Consumer magazine increase have been driven the new entrants and some real growth. The increase of 7.1% was however counteracted by the decline in subscriptions of 9%. Free circulation saw a hefty increase of 11.6%.

Family Interest: Increases were reported by Bona, Lig and Drum. Readers Digest was the biggest loser at -18.7%.
Home Interest: Increases for Garden & Home, SA Home Owner, Tuis/Home, and Food and Home. Top Billing was the biggest loser at 42%.
Motoring: Overall, a category with very little growth (1.7%). Super Bike, Leisure Wheels and Car all enjoyed increases, with Auto Trader and TopCar declining.
Parenting: Free distribution Child magazine continues to grow quarter on quarter. Living and Loving has was the biggest looser with 24.5%.
Sport and Hobby: This category is 'static' with a 1% growth. The increases have come from Amakhosi and Fitness Magazine, and Submerge and Go Multi have declined.
Travel: This category has declined by 2%. Whilst Time Out Weekend Breaks and Getaway both enjoyed increased circulations, National Geographic Traveller and Wegsleep both declined.
Woman’s General: Overall, the category increased by 5.6%. This was driven by the increase in Kuier of +121.9% (all copy sales), Rooi Rose and Marie Claire. O Magazine however is down by 20.3% and Psychologies by 16.3%.

Business to Business magazines overall are constant with a total increase of 1% but real circulation decline of 0.7%.

Custom magazines have enjoyed an increase of 3.8% however this is only driven by the 2 large TV titles

Free magazines have remained static.

A few general comments:
Salary increases in 2011 will probably not be what people are expecting and therefore, as the pressure on household expenditure continues, we could well see the impact on print circulation results in 2011 figures.

A number of member titles have embarked on various strategies to keep costs down and have cut cover costs too. This has helped in a number of titles, however the sustainability of these strategies is not known as the cost of printing has increased.

It is pleasing to note that the vernacular magazines and newspapers are doing well. We need to however err on the side of caution when rate increases are announced as the increases in circulations could be due to deal driven circulation increases.....

An update on TopTV

The MediaShop has received communication from TopTV to advise that they are aiming to start selling advertising space from July 2011. They announced mid January that they have 200 000 subscribers. 50 000 new subscribers were signed up in December and they are estimating that they have a viewership of 800 000 (average of 4 people per household). They also advised that during the course of 2011 they will be including a sports channel (by Q3), new HD Channels (Q1 2012) and an HD PVR.