The sales of Independent Newspapers titles in KwaZulu-Natal grew during the first quarter of this year with the Zulu-language daily, Isolezwe, and Post (published for Indian readers), making impressive gains.
The audited circulation of Isolezwe has grown from 71 250 a day to 97 370, which is a 36% gain. During the same period, the sales of its main Zulu competitor declined by 12% from 117 678 to 103 044.
Meanwhile, Post, which focuses on Indian readers, has surged by 6% from 43 574 to 46 208 while the Independent on Saturday continues to make gains in the leisure market growing by 2%.
Other titles in the Independent KZN stable - the Sunday Tribune (109 428), Daily News (52 023), and The Mercury (38 614) - posted stable circulations.
The results of a recent survey conducted among readers of Isolezwe found the newspaper to be credible, portable, topical, easily available and inviting.
The research was conducted by Lwazi Shongwe Research Consultancy. Focus groups were held in KwaZulu-Natal involving male and female respondents between the ages of 18 and 49 in LSM groups ranging between 4 and 7.
The aim of the survey was to gain insight, from both occasional and loyal Isolezwe readers, into newspaper buying and reading behaviour.
Respondents said Isolezwe respects their intellects by giving them the facts and allowing them to make up their own minds about issues.
"What I like about Isolezwe is that it is not inclined to any political organisation," said a 35-49 year old loyal reader.
The focus groups liked the tabloid format. "The size is right, one can put it in a handbag," said an occasional reader.
The readers also said the news was fresh - "I love reading it because it doesn't have stale news" and they felt Isolezwe 'knows the vibe'. "Isolezwe is current and tells us about things we see around us."
Their experiences proved that Isolezwe is easily available - from tuck shops, spaza shops, emgwaqeni (street sellers), garage shops, cafes and supermarkets. This makes it easy to get a copy on the way to work.
Respondents said they look forward to spending time with the newspaper. "I first read the headlines and then when I'm relaxing in bed I read everything."
The final word from an occasional reader: "Isolezwe s'right, they write short stories but with lots of information."