It will be launched in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal on 30 October under the guidance of Peet Bothma, the editor of the very successful Sondag
tabloid. The highly regarded Bothma will be editor-in-chief of both titles and he's promising that the new paper will be a true red-top: loud and brassy with a sexy - but not topless - Page 3 girl. "Of course we will be racy"
"Of course we will be racy," he told Bizcommunity. "We are writing about the dark underbelly of South Africa - true SA tabloid stories... The traditional English market is being neglected. There is a market out there - not really black, not really white - but they do speak English and they are in serious need of fun!"
Bothma has appointed a fresh batch of journalists for the paper, including Ben Viljoen, formerly managing editor of the Daily Sun
, as deputy editor. Scoop!
will share staff and some content - about 40% - with Sondag
, although Bothma points out that he doesn't want to be too rigid about this. Costs will be kept down by sharing subbing staff and print slots.
Bothma wouldn't divulge the size of the initial print run but the plan is to take the paper national from the initial launch areas of Gauteng and KZN. The cover price will be R9.95 and it will be full-colour over its 48 pages.Kings of the red tops
Media24 are the kings of the red tops in this country, led by the-now ubiquitous Daily Sun
. Although the Daily Sun
had fallen back to 381 000 sales in the second quarter of this year from the magic 500 000 sales mark reached about three years ago, the company's Sunday tabloids are doing well. Sondag
, which circulates in Gauteng, the North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, sold an average 50 383 in the second quarter of this year, according to ABC figures, up from 47 124 in the same period of 2010. Son op Sondag
, that circulates in the Western, Eastern and Northern Capes, grew to 65 866 from 64 290 in the previous year, while the Sunday Sun
fell back to 226 933 from 230 855.
Of Media24's tabloid rivals on a Sunday, Avusa's Sunday World
sold 150 925 papers in the second quarter of this year, compared with 160 482 the previous year, while Independent Newspapers' isiZulu-language paper, Isolezwe ngeSonto
, was at 80 608 - up in a big way from 67 483.'Up yours' stanceSondag
has been around for a few years but it only took off when Media24 tabloid master Ingo Capraro knocked it into shape about a year ago. "He made it a true red-top tabloid with an 'up yours' stance in the market," says Bothma.
"Immediately the sales almost doubled, which shows you there's this specific niche in the market for something that is more crude, for telling it soos dit is
and having no sacred cows [especially when it comes to celebrities]."
Bothma says that in-store research has shown that Sondag
readers are "very much a mixed bag: it's the professor from Tuks and the motor mechanic from Danville." Code of ethics
"When we find a scandal about a celebrity, we write it because it's a job that's not being done in South Africa. It's being done overseas. A celeb can't move overseas without someone writing about it. I think the difference [compared to British tabloids] is that we adhere to Media24's code of ethics - and also adhere to our own code of ethics and that will be the case for Scoop!
as well. Sources and truth stand above all."
While sales of the broadsheet Sunday newspapers in this country have declined generally over the past decade as readers' Sundays have got busier and reading habits have changed due to new technologies such as online and smart phones, the big question is whether the Sunday tabloids have been stealing eyeballs.
"The proof in the pudding comes now with Scoop!
," says Bothma "We are looking at a target market of about 1.6-million people. Scoop!
is not only a nice-to-have. This is a business decision and it's also going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
"I think there's a large group of readers - a lot of them white but maybe also Indian and coloured - who maybe moved away from the broadsheets," he says. "The Sunday Independent
is too serious. The Sunday Times
and City Press
are more in the emerging black-diamond market. This paper is aimed at English-speaking South Africans and if there's a black market, then so be it."For more: