media24 printing numbers
Media24 to close five newspapers. Image: Pixabay

Home » Media24’s scary decline in printing numbers

Media24’s scary decline in printing numbers

In yet another nail in the coffin for print journalism, Media24 will close no fewer than FIVE of its best-known newspapers later this year.

25-06-24 19:46
media24 printing numbers
Media24 to close five newspapers. Image: Pixabay

In yet another nail in the coffin for print journalism, Media24 will close no fewer than FIVE of its best-known newspapers later this year.

The news came as a shock to some readers, but no surprise to others.

The closures will reportedly see around 400 jobs lost.

Those newspapers affected are Afrikaans titles Rapport and Beeld, as well as English papers City PressDaily Sun and Soccer Laduma.

Rapport, City Press and Daily Sun will become digital-only brands going forward.

The only major print publication in the company that will remain in circulation is the Cape Town-based Die Burger.

Meanwhile, in other bombshell news delivered by Media24 CEO Ishmet Davidson at a town hall meeting with staff last week, it was confirmed that the digital editions of Volksblad and Die Burger Oos-Kaap would be culled, while the digital hub SNL24 would also be shut down.

Soccer Laduma, Daily Sun, KickOff and TRUELOVE and DRUM all currently fall under the SNL24 website.

Davidson cited a decline in circulation and advertising, coupled with rising fixed distribution costs as reasons for the decision having been taken.

Monday, 30 September 2024 has been earmarked as the last day of publication for the abovementioned newspapers.

Newspapers and magazines in other media groups in South Africa face similar pressures.

Get your newspapers – and magazines – while you still can …


A closer look at the decrease in circulation numbers over the last decade for those five newspapers to be closed appears to make the decision a no-brainer.

According to The Outlier website, Daily Sun plummeted from circulation figures of 283 216 in Q1 in 2014 to a mere 11 889, representing a 95.8% decrease.

City Press has fared next worst, dropping 89.8% from 118 676 to 12 093.

Soccer Laduma, once the biggest selling newspaper in the Media24 stable with 317 013, saw an 86.8% decline to under 42 000 a decade later.

The newspapers that did ‘best’ were Rapport and Beeld with ‘only’ a 68.1% and 69.1% drop, respectively.

Newspaper2014 Q12024 Q1% decrease
Soccer Laduma317 01341 69886.8%
Daily Sun283 21611 88995.8%
Rapport177 01656 41068.1%
City Press118 67612 09389.8%
Beeld62 76619 36969.1%
Overall958 687141 45985.2%

Circulation figures as per ABC via BizCommunity and Mark Lives

Meanwhile, while the group’s print titles have been in a sharp decline, over a similar 10-year period, former Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk raked in a reported R1.8 billion in salaries – including R330 million in the most recent financial year.

That news did not sit well with AfriForum, who on Tuesday issued a statement saying: “News reports about the astronomical compensation that Naspers’ former chief executive, Bob van Dijk, has earned and will continue to earn until September 2024, only raise more questions about Media24’s plans to lay off approximately 400 employees and close newspapers including Beeld and Rapport.

These strategic considerations of the media giant have so far been presented as well-considered business decisions, but in light of the fact that the printed versions of Beeld and Rapport are indeed still profitable, and that senior staff are compensated at this level, the arguments do not hold water, according to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s Head of Cultural Affairs.

Since the news of Media24’s possible cost cutting plans have come to light, the many benefits that the continued availability of print newspapers and other publications have for readers, the language in which they are printed and the wider community they report on have been emphasised by many experts. The fact has also been highlighted that many people in South Africa do not have access to electronic media due to technical or financial challenges, and therefore will not have access to online reporting if the newspapers were to close.

On the part of the media giant, these arguments were ignored, as are questions about the future of the approximately 400 people whose income and future will be affected by the decision.

“One of the messages that AfriForum has received since last week is an email from a newspaper seller whose only income is the newspaper delivery fee. With this she tries to take care of herself and three grandchildren. Her circumstances, and those of many other loyal staff members like her, compared to Van Dijk who, according to news reports, earned more than a million rand a day in the past financial year, is outrageous,” says Bailey.