Online showing strong growth
LEADING ONLINE publications in South Africa are showing strong growth, with Naspers-owned News24 leading the pack with a record 2m unique readers/month. While that’s still somewhere off from the 4m weekly readers of Johannesburg’s Sunday Times newspaper it does suggest South Africans are increasingly turning online to access news.
News24 editor Jannie Momberg says the barriers to digital consumption are falling further every day. He says South Africans are increasingly able to go online and that cellphones are featuring prominently in the list of devices accessing news websites. Says Momberg: “There’s no doubt cheaper bandwidth, access via mobile devices and social media have played a huge part in increasing South Africans’ appetites for on-demand news content.”
Social networking was cited as a strong part of the growth in traffic, as users of services such as Facebook and Twitter used those platforms to share news stories.
Momberg added Internet users were increasingly creating the news content themselves. “We live by three rules: content, community and engagement. MyNews24. co.za – our citizen journalism hub – shows off the benefits of that approach, where user-generated content offerings have significantly increased our traction by creating a two-way platform for users to engage with the news of the day, giving it more depth and public perspective.”
Some analysts predict mobile will drive growth in SA. Momberg says traffic to News24’s mobile offering – m.news24. com – has increased by more than 124% since February this year, highlighting the impact such technologies are having on online media.