The Witness says that the milestone demonstrates its commitment to delivering relevant and important news to its readers when and where they want it, as well as on the device they want to use. The brand says that it enjoys new growth from its re-launched digital presence.

"In the media world, such a milestone is not achieved without clarity of purpose and a well-developed ability to adapt to a changing ecosystem," says the publication. 

Since 1846, The Witness has been committed to "delivering the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" to its readers.

Witness editor Stephanie Saville says, "Our audience relies on the fact that we know KwaZulu-Natal well and they know that the news we produce will be relevant and important."

"Readers see The Witness as a champion of day-to-day issues of local and provincial importance," Saville says. "We take our watchdog role very seriously and regularly investigate and expose issues where government and local government have failed their people or where active corruption has taken place."

The Witness seeks to empower its readers with the knowledge they need to make important life decisions: where to buy a house or whether they should invest in a generator to deal with power outages.

According to the publication, news consumption has transitioned from the newspaper to the computer screen to the mobile phone; readers want access to events and stories around them, where they live, in real-time.

With this in mind, on Thursday, 1 October 2020, The Witness launched its new digital presence delivering impressive results: in three months, both its average daily unique browsers and page views quadrupled, according to Narratiive data.

Across mobile, desk-top and social media platforms, it achieved a digital footprint of 1 741 095. This figure continues to grow, says the publication. This growth continues as it promotes its content across the social media sites of a host of Media24 local newspapers across the province.

December 2020 saw The Witness drawn more than double the number of unique browsers than the nearest competitive local news and radio brands in KZN.

However, January's Narratiive figures show that 28.73% of the unique browsers are to be found in KwaZulu-Natal; the bulk are to be found in Gauteng (36,17%) and the Western Cape (14,80%). KZN is one of the most significant and influential provinces.

The publication says that the online audience is younger than their print counterparts; they want breaking news as it happens and are always on their phones checking in. They want to be part of the conversations around the news and enjoy sharing, tweeting and commenting on stories. They also want to be able to read an opinion piece or look at the cartoons and download the puzzles.

The print audience, largely comprising traditional subscriber base of older readers, have the time to read a newspaper at their leisure; they want in-depth news, features and thought pieces, adds the publication.

Advertising and sales manager Marijke van Bosch says that the excellent, trustful relationships the sales team has established with clients over the years is the key to successfully reaching targets every month.

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