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ABC Q1 2017: A mixed bag

The first quarter 2017 Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa's ABC figures released this morning show the trend of the decline in newspaper and magazine sales continues.
It is not all bad news, though – compared to the prior period, overall newspapers remained static, while total magazine circulation only declined slightly on the prior quarter by 2.3%. However, the longer-term trend for both, year on year show a decline of 4.2% for newspapers and 6.2% for magazines.

ABC Notice No 1 of 2017

The first quarter 2017 list of new ABC members, suspensions and discontinued titles, as well as the check audits reports and more has been released...

Issued by Audit Bureau of Circulations 9 Mar 2017


Daily newspapers declined by 1.1% on the previous quarter, and by 11.2% on the prior year. The Pretoria News showed positive movement for both periods, with the Daily Dispatch, Diamond Field Advertiser and Isolezwe all positive compared to the previous quarter, but negative year on year.

Weekly newspapers increased by 4.8% on the previous quarter, but decreased by 2.3% on the prior year. Ilanga, Mail & Guardian and Soccer Laduma also showed this pattern.

Declining both on the previous quarter (by 3.3%) and on the prior year (11.9%) are Weekend newspapers. Bucking this trend in both time periods are three weekend newspapers: Ilanga Langesonto, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo and the Independent on Saturday.

Despite an increase on the previous quarter of just over 2.1%, local newspapers also declined on the prior year by 5.7%. Bosvelder Review and Die Noordwester reflect this trend, while the Representative and Vryheid Herald increased their figures for both time periods.

In the free newspapers category, Public Eye Free State, a new member, showed a significant percentage increase over the prior period, while Rekord West News/Wes Nuus had percentage increases of over 30% on both time periods. The category increased 0.2% on the previous quarter, but declined by 1.6% compared to the prior year.


Federico Rostagno © –

Total magazine circulation declined by 2.3% on the previous quarter, and by 6.5% on the prior year.

Free magazines increased by 0.1% over the previous quarter, and by 11.5% over the prior year.

While consumer magazines increased by 9.2% on the previous quarter, they declined by 5.7% on the prior year. However, this was because of several titles changes from custom to consumer. If this is considered, then consumer magazines declined by 3.3% on the previous quarter and by 16.3% on the prior year.

The best-performing magazines in the consumer category, achieving positive percentage increases for both periods, include Caravan & Outdoor Life, Ride Magazine and Getaway. Despite good percentage increases over the prior quarter – the biggest in the category – Bona’s percentage change over the prior year was slightly negative.

Forbes experienced high percentage increases over the prior quarter but an almost as high decrease in percentage change over the prior year, with Amakhosi in the same boat. It showed the biggest decline in prior year figures. SA Home Owner, SA Flyer and Fairlady all showed positive figures over the prior quarters, but declines over the prior year.

This is also the case with custom magazines, which saw several titles moving from the category to consumer. Therefore, while this category declined by 10% on the prior quarter, and by 9.3% over the prior year, on a like for like basis, the decline is just 2.2% on the previous quarter and 1.5% on the prior year.

Despite a marginal decline of half a percent over the prior quarter, business to business (B2B) magazines increased by 0.9% on the prior year, with Medical Chronicle showing positive figures for both periods. Inside Mining increased its percentage over the prior quarter, but declined year on year.

ABC: Members up but print down

The ABC 4th Quarter 2016 results, released via webinar for the first time, show that the total number of products and titles reported on for the ABC 4th quarter 2016 has increased to 982 from 854 in 2015...

By Danette Breitenbach 9 Feb 2017

A total of 116 web titles submitted web traffic data, and 45 titles on email newsletter net delivery submitted net delivery data.

Visit the ABC press office and Twitter feed for the latest updates.

About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.