Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY -

One of the old­est news me­dia brands in South Africa, Caxton and CTP Pub­lish­ers and Prin­ters (Caxton) is plac­ing its bets on hy­per­local news to help the group en­sure fu­ture growth and to stave off dig­i­tal threats. Caxton is the me­dia com­pany that owns The Cit­i­zen, along with Bona, Coun­try Life, Es­sen­tials, Farm­ers Weekly, Food & Home, Peo­ple Mag­a­zine and Rooi Rose, but which has a very strong foothold in the com­mu­nity press mar­ket.

Caxton has about 120 lo­cal news ti­tles that are wholly-owned (or owned in part­ner­ship with oth­ers), and there are a fur­ther 11 pa­pers that are owned by the Mool­man fam­ily (Terry Mool­man be­ing one of the direc­tors of Caxton.) In Au­gust 2010 the pub­lish­ing group cut a deal with Mon­ey­web Hold­ings (founded by Alec Hogg) which saw it buy 34% of the Alt-X-listed In­ter­net pub­lish­ing com­pany for R21m. The deal was all about tak­ing Caxton’s com­mu­nity press on­line, but a mere two months af­ter the buy in was an­nounced, Hogg re­signed as CEO of Mon­ey­web, and Caxton be­came the ma­jor­ity share­holder with over 50% of the share cap­i­tal.

At the time, Hogg talked about a “clash of cul­tures” say­ing that he was en­tre­pre­neur­ial and that Caxton had a stronger cor­po­rate ori­en­ta­tion, but it ap­peared that Hogg had a greater ap­petite for risk than his suit­ors. At the time, Biz­Com­mu­nity re­ported that Mon­ey­web was look­ing to find prof­its in mo­bile apps and the hy­per­local sites it had devel­oped in con­junc­tion with Caxton’s com­mu­nity presses, but the losses were adding up.

To date the hy­per­local clus­ter has some 43 sites up and run­ning, and Caxton – which gen­er­ates most of its rev­enue from pub­lish­ing, print­ing and distri­bu­tion – hopes that it will achieve fur­ther growth as ad­ver­tis­ers mi­grate to th­ese new plat­forms.

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