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Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & Marketing - POLOKO MO­FO­KENG polokom@fin­week.co.za

SOUTH AFRICA’S BIG­GEST daily news-pa­per con­tin­ues to buck the trend. While to­tal news­pa­per sales have dropped 10% in a year, the Daily Sun con­tin­ues to haul in the num­bers, in the process over­tak­ing the Sun­day Times as the coun­try’s biggest­selling pa­per, daily or weekly, with first quar­ter sales av­er­ag­ing 507 000.

More­over, says pub­lisher Deon du Pless­sis, ad­ver­tis­ing isn’t be­ing dis­counted, de­spite the eco­nomic con­di­tions. “Ad­ver­tis­ers know they re­ceive value for money be­cause they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced di­rect re­sponse to their ads,” he says. “Read­ers of­ten per­ceive what’s ad­ver­tised as hav­ing en­dorse­ment from the pa­per. And they get what they want: a pub­li­ca­tion that ac­knowl­edges them and takes note of their at­ti­tudes and be­liefs.”

What’s still not fully un­der­stood is that the buy­ing power of the black work­ing class – the “guy in the blue over­all” – has re­placed that of the white mid­dle class. “Many ad­ver­tis­ers still talk about the Chevy guy of the Sev­en­ties but he’s not the av­er­age man any more.”

Du Plessis says the pa­per’s suc­cess lies in putting its 5m read­ers’ needs first. “You might find the story of a tokoloshe ridicu­lous but for our read­ers it makes sense. And even dur­ing the elec­tions we took a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to Zuma from other me­dia be­cause we un­der­stand our read­ers.”

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