“The publication will be a Sunday edition of the company's highly successful modern Zulu daily tabloid, Isolezwe
,” says Independent Newspapers KZN General Manager, Brian Porter. “We're extending the brand into the weekend, with an additional editorial team and a read that fits the weekend mood,” says Porter.
AMPS readership research shows that the majority of Isolezwe
readers don't read any newspapers on Sundays. Further research conducted by Plus 94 Research has confirmed there is a ‘gap in the market', with Sunday being the preferred day for the weekend edition.
On the back of Isolezwe
's popularity, there is an extremely high level of interest in the new publication. “Qualitative and quantitative surveys have given us further insight into readers' needs and their reading and buying preferences,” says Philani Mgwaba, who is acting in a consulting capacity on the new title. Mgwaba, who edited Isolezwe
from launch in April 2002 and is now deputy editor of the Sunday Tribune
, says the positive research feedback is very encouraging. “We've had a sense that readers wanted a weekend edition of Isolezwe
, but didn't expect the level of enthusiasm that we've encountered,” says Mgwaba.
editor, Thulani Mbatha, will edit both titles. “We've managed to get a great team of eight new staff on-board. They will be in place by the end of February, giving them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with our thinking and philosophy for this exciting new paper,” says Mbatha.
“Our plan is to build on Isolezwe
's success so the Sunday product will be different to the Monday to Friday editions - we would like readers to buy it in addition to their current weekday purchases. Isolezwe ngeSonto
will include more entertainment, lifestyle features, personalities, TV and sports. A link with our sister title in the employment market also presents a strong opportunity for us,” says Mbatha.
With three quarters of the adult population speaking Zulu at home in KwaZulu-Natal, and literacy as high as 97%, Isolezwe ngeSonto
will provide advertisers with a useful vehicle to reach the rapidly growing Zulu middle class market in their weekend environment.
“We are in the process of selling advertising in Isolezwe ngeSonto
,” continues Porter, “and initial reaction has been very positive. Although it is a new title, advertisers trust the Isolezwe
brand to deliver, so we are not going into the market completely cold.”
Launched in 2002, Isolezwe
sells around 100,000 copies a day and is read by an average of 713,000 adults. Its popularity is driven by the newspaper's uncompromising editorial commitment in which readers believe.
Priced at R2.50, this very affordable tabloid paper will have a minimum of 28 pages.