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Newspapers ABC Q4 2017: Losses across the board

In the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) 4th quarter 2017 release, Press saw a 2.1% decline over Q3, and 5.1% decline over the prior year. Losses were across the board, including Free Newspapers. In total there are 9,054,649 newspapers of which Weeklies make up 7,784,907.


With decline the overall trend for the quarter and over the prior year (8.2% and 17% respectively), Dailies have been impacted by the closure of a title, which changed the composition in favour of Single Copy Sales. Declines occurred in all categories of circulation

Despite this, there was some good news in the category, with Die Burger Daily, Business Day and The Mercury all increasing over Q3. However, all three declined over the prior year. In all cases, the yearly decline outweighed the quarter’s gain.

The Western Cape’s Die Burger Daily increased from 46,379 to 47,400 over Q3 or 2.2%, keeping in mind the corresponding previous figure of 50,258, which is a decline by 5.7% over the prior year.

Magazines ABC Q4 2017: Customs the biggest loser

Significant declines in Custom magazines and to a lesser extent in Consumer publications saw the overall decline in magazines edge to just over eight percent (8.1%) over Q3 and a 16.6% decline over the prior year...

By Danette Breitenbach 14 Feb 2018

Business Day and The Mercury both increased just over a percent over Q3, with Business Day increasing from 20,030 to 20,313 and The Mercury from 25,129 to 25,432.

Despite these increases on Q3, when compared to the corresponding period, all three dailies have declined. Die Burger Daily declined by 5.7% over the prior year (50,258), Business Day declined by 8% (from 22,069) over the prior year while the fall for The Mercury was not as big, showing a decline of 2.8% (from 26,165) over the prior year.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
Daily Sun143,981-7.6%-20.6%
Daily Nation113,592-9.2%-12.7%
Star, The74,520-1.0%-11.5%
Son (Daily)66,043-0.9%-10.9%
Burger, Die Daily47,4002.2%-5.7%
Citizen, The (Daily)43,693-1.2%-1.6%
Namibian, The38,9830.0%-7.0%
Beeld, Daily35,934-4.3%-13.8%
Cape Times29,6730.2%-3.6%
Cape Argus27,6620.1%-7.2%
New Vision26,638-1.1%-1.1%
Mercury, The25,4321.2%-2.8%
Daily News23,5081.0%-4.5%
Times of Swaziland22,4502.5%0.8%
Business Day20,3131.4%-8.0%
Daily Monitor18,7575.8%2.2%
Daily Dispatch17,958-0.7%-8.6%
Herald, The17,067-6.1%-5.2%
Volksblad - Daily13,906-2.5%-9.2%
Taifa Leo12,746-9.6%2.1%
Pretoria News12,532-0.3%-13.7%
Witness, The11,641-2.1%-14.4%
Diamond Fields Advertiser7,5990.5%-3.4%
Zambia Daily Mail6,999-10.3%-20.1%


Overall the decline for the Q3 was over seven percent (7.6%), with a 7% decline over the prior year. Although the decline was in Single Copy Sales, this category still represents 92% of circulation.

Only the Lesotho Times managed to increase Q3 percentage and its percentage on the prior year, with a 1% over Q3, or 7,792 to 7,869 - an increase of 7.4% over the prior year figure of (7,327).

The Post upped its circulation by nearly 10% over Q3 from 36,703 to 40,027. This is still a decline of almost eight percent on the corresponding period (43,482).

With only a marginal increase Mail & Guardian rose from 27,766 to 27,969, edging closer to the 29,364 of the corresponding period, and showing only a 4.8% decline on the prior year.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
Soccer Laduma250,006-11.3%-6.3%
Post, The40,0279.1%-7.9%
Mail & Guardian27,9690.7%-4.8%
Voice, The15,9491.5%-10.0%
Botswana Gazette , The9,232-10.9%-10.9%
Lesotho Times7,8691.0%7.4%
The Monitor (Formerly Mmegi Monitor)7,793-2.5%-10.0%
Mmegi Reporter, The5,584-8.9%-9.2%

Weekend newspapers

With a 2.9% decline over Q3, and 12.3% decline over the prior year, declines occurred in all categories of circulation.

Despite some gains over Q3, the publications were not able to equal their figures of the corresponding period with declines over the prior year continuing.

The Weekend Post saw the biggest increase (2.6%) over Q3, going from 16,458 to 16,880, but unable to match the 18,136 of the corresponding period, a decline of nearly seven percent (6.9%)

Die Burger Saturday increased by 2.5% over Q3 taking over the 60,000 mark to 60,502 from 59,048. It too was unable to match the 63,940 of the corresponding period, showing a 5.4% decline.

It was the same for the Independent on Saturday, which increased marginally over Q3, from 35,092 to 35,299 but short of the 36,788 of the corresponding period with a 4% decline.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
Sunday Times261,0240.1%-4.9%
Sunday Nation125,162-13.4%-12.0%
Sunday Sun68,342-10.0%-29.4%
Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo63,225-3.0%-8.9%
Isolezwe ngeSonto62,382-7.6%-15.8%
Burger, Die Saturday60,5022.5%-5.4%
City Press56,056-11.0%-31.2%
Weekend Argus51,6750.0%-0.6%
Sunday World51,407-6.3%-19.0%
Sunday Tribune49,903-3.1%-13.4%
Saturday Star, The44,9780.1%-13.5%
Son op Sondag (formerly Sondag Son)37,620-1.2%-12.8%
Beeld, Saturday36,105-2.3%-9.2%
Independent on Saturday35,2990.6%-4.0%
Ilanga Langesonto34,997-7.3%-12.9%
Citizen, The (Saturday)31,565-3.3%-5.2%
Sunday Vision17,194-2.3%-1.4%
Weekend Post16,8802.6%-6.9%
Saturday Dispatch14,973-8.5%-18.9%
Volksblad - Saturday13,362-0.8%-6.8%
Sunday Monitor12,1876.2%2.7%
Weekend Witness11,486-2.7%-13.9%
Taifa Jumapili11,395-12.2%-0.7%
The Southern Cross7,7520.1%-9.4%
Pretoria News Saturday7,357-2.3%-17.3%
Sunday Mail4,638-11.0%-35.0%

Free newspapers

This category saw a 0.8% decline over Q3 and 1.8% over the prior year, with Non-Residential Individual and Residential Bulk both increased slightly. There were some winners.

The big winner here is Umgungundlovu Eyethu, which increased by 17.8% over Q3 from 16,857 to just under 20,000 to a figure of 19,859, overtaking its 11,859 corresponding period figure – a 67.5% increase.

Phoenix Tabloid increased by 8% over Q3 from 51,825 to 55,980, which is also an increase of 8.7% on the 51,480 figure of the corresponding period.

Highlands Panorama News increased to just under 10,000, to 9,968 from 9,430, also up on the corresponding period (8,968), a 5.7% increase over Q3 and 11.2% over the prior year.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
PE Express119,9220.0%0.0%
Tame Times - Weekly104,141-4.0%-26.2%
Sedibeng Ster100,9850.0%0.0%
Msunduzi News99,9900.0%0.0%
People s Post Mitchells Plain83,3400.0%0.0%
Rekord East/Oos78,528-0.1%-0.3%
Mthatha Express59,9870.0%0.0%
The Rising Sun.59,9600.0%0.0%
Rekord Centurion59,941-0.1%-0.3%
Randburg Sun59,890-0.2%0.1%
Phoenix Tabloid55,9808.0%8.7%
Athlone News55,9370.0%0.0%
Kempton Express55,309-0.4%-0.3%
Highway Mail54,5710.0%0.0%
Northern News - Kraaifontein, Brackenfel, Kuils River53,5000.0%0.0%
Chatsworth Rising Sun51,1480.0%0.0%
Roodepoort Record51,071-0.8%-0.3%
City Vision (Khayalitsha)50,4530.0%0.0%
Southern Mail50,3600.0%2.0%
Maritzburg Echo50,125-14.4%-14.3%

Local newspapers

Q3 saw a 2.6% decline, while the category decreased 6.4% over the prior year.

Reaching 2,224 Talk of the Town increased by 15.3% over Q3 (1,928), which is just short of the corresponding period figure of 2,299 – instead showing a decline 3.3%.

Die Noordwester increased by 13.8% over Q3 from 3,519 to 4,003, also up on the its corresponding period of 3,090 – a 29.5% increase. Hermanus Times increased to 5,857 from 5,649 or 3.7% over Q3 and up from the corresponding period (5,770) by 1.5%.

PublicationCirculation% change quarter% change year
African Reporter21,489-2.7%1.8%
Rustenburg Herald17,626-3.5%14.2%
Witbank News, Fri16,549-10.7%-12.3%
George Herald (Thursday)15,2231.7%-3.2%
Middelburg Observer, Fri13,999-2.7%-7.9%
Klerksdorp Rekord13,6411.1%-4.2%
Lowvelder, The / Laevelder, Die (Friday)12,530-3.6%-8.9%
South Coast Herald11,851-2.9%-6.4%
Paarl Post11,562-1.9%-6.1%
Lowvelder, The / Laevelder, Die ( Tuesday)11,206-6.7%-10.0%
The Mail10,8171.4%3.6%
Weslander, The10,2620.5%-6.0%
Worcester Standard8,6680.7%-4.4%
Zululand Observer Weekend (Formerly Friday)8,410-1.9%-9.8%
Limpopo Mirror7,788-2.6%-2.2%
Mpumalanga News7,685-2.1%-3.5%
Mosselbay Advertiser7,3362.0%-3.7%
District Mail6,8741.3%-10.7%
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About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.