By understanding readers and delivering value, the average sale of all three editions of Isolezwe increased, according to the audited circulation figures (ABCs) for the fourth quarter of 2013.
When compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, the Saturday edition, Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo, performed outstandingly by adding an extra 12% more copies. In only its ninth audited quarter, sales reached 82,339.
Getting the weekend vibe right, Isolezwe ngeSonto has pulled further ahead of other isiZulu Sunday titles, to sell 88,026 - a 1% increase on the comparable quarter in 2012.
The daily Isolezwe has consistently sold over 100,000 copies a day since the fourth quarter of 2010. At 107,119 a day, sales are slightly ahead of the previous year.
"It's a difficult market and there's no doubt that our core readers in the LSM 4-7 bands are under pressure," says Isolezwe editor, Sazi Hadebe. "When readers take out their R3.20, we need to deliver value.
"Ongoing product development and innovation keeps us fresh. In September, Isolezwe underwent a major facelift. Research feedback, as well as sales, suggest that readers like the modern, brighter look.
Mandela's death in early December did not spike sales. "Much like previous quarters, this growth comes from understanding our market and putting together a quality package week in and week out," says Hadebe.
"Readers tell us our exciting headlines grab their attention and we deliver the latest news, and variety. They like that we publish in their mother tongue, we follow up on stories, our reporting is unbiased and trustworthy, and our sports sections are highly rated," he says.
Hadebe says he can see a subtle shift in vernacular advertising in Isolezwe which turns twelve in April. "Retail support is strong, it's our bread and butter and we know Isolezwe delivers good response. But recently we're seeing an increase in brand-building campaigns in isiZulu. Advertisers aren't putting us in a vernacular niche, we're regarded as an influential mainstream medium, which publishes in isiZulu."