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PICA awards evening shows Media24's dominance

Here is a reminder how powerful a force Media24 is in the South African magazine world. At the 2010 MPASA PICA Awards held late last week in Cape Town, its associate companies, including New Media Publishing and Touchline Media, picked up an incredible 22 awards. Out of 29.
Its closest rival was Cape Media, thanks to the success of Leadership magazine. Media24 took home Magazine of the Year (Consumer), thanks to Sarie, and Magazine of the Year (Custom) with a win by Woolworths Taste from Media24's New Media Publishing division.

Women's Health was as near as a sure bet as one can get for wining Launch or Re-launch of the Year (Consumer), with launch editor Kate Wilson taking the titles' circulation within a hair's breadth of established Men's Health - up 35% on Touchline's internal circulation projections.

Magazine rivals fared poorly

Louise Marsland, editor-in-chief of AdVantage magazine, with her PICA for Best Trade & Industry Writer of the Year. Pic: Simone Puterman.
Media24's magazine rivals Avusa and Caxton both fared poorly. Caxton didn't feature at all (its stable includes Bona, Cleo, Farmers Weekly, Food & Home Entertaining, Rooi Rose and Woman & Home). Avusa picked up one award, thanks to Elle and Annalize Visser winning Profile Writer of the Year. The group also publishes the Financial Mail, Elle Decoration and Stuff, among others.

Cape Media won three PICAs, two on the back of Leadership magazine (for Magazine of the Year - B2B and Editor of the Year - B2B), and a third for Annual, Supplement or Special Issue of the Year for Leadership in Sport.

Three magazines that turn out to be pretty successful at winning awards (and pretty successful in themselves, actually) is Weg!/Go!, Sarie and Woolworths Taste.

Successful content recipe

2010 PICA chairperson Jonathan Harris in the "boxing ring" in the Zip Zap Circus. Pic: Simone Puterman.
Weg lost founding editor Bun Booyens to Die Burger in May 2010 but continues with its successful content recipe. The magazine won three PICAs, including Photography/Photojournalism of the Year, Travel Writer of the Year and Columnist of the Year (Toast Coetzer, who won both, can expect a raise this year).

Woolworths Taste also won three PICAs: Overall Magazine Design of the Year (Custom), Online Solution of the Year and Magazine of the Year (Custom). Sarie won Overall Magazine Design of the Year (Consumer), Editor of the Year (Consumer) and Magazine of the Year (Consumer).

Leadership, ZigZag, Women's Health and AdVantage all won two awards each.

Didn't feature this year

Cut crystal and silver-plated cutlery elegance. Pic: Simone Puterman.
Titles that didn't feature on the list of PICA winners this year included Visi, whose ABC for the second quarter of 2010 (April to June) dropped nearly 40% to just above the 12 000 mark. The pressure on new editor Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly to turn things around at what was once the most exciting magazine in the country is considerable.

Men's interest titles focused on niches rather than general interest, with the exception of Men's Health, which won Health & Wellness Writer of the Year. Sarie Kos vir Mans won Annual, Supplement or Special Issue of the Year (Consumer) and WegRy/Drive Out for Layout of the Year.

The awards evening went smoothly and taking the awards to the winning tables was a stroke of brilliance. It all flew by relatively painlessly. The boxing ring in the middle of the Zip Zap Circus tent was unconventional but allowed everybody to share in the entertainment equally. MC Riaad Moosa was a hit and Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP) opened the evening's entertainment LOUDLY (I did notice a pair of earplugs emerging from at least one handbag).

The interior of the Zip Zap Circus all set up for the 2010 PICA Awards. Pic: Simone Puterman.
Jonathan Harris, chairman of the 2010 PICA Committee, promised a revamped and streamlined award show. He delivered.

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About Herman Manson: @marklives

The inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011, Herman Manson (@marklives) is a business journalist and media commentator who edits industry news site His writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines locally and abroad, including He also co-founded Brand magazine.