CAXTON’S HYPERLOCAL NEWS
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.