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Isolezwe ngeSonto breaks launch records

The launch issue of Isolezwe ngeSonto has set a new local publishing record with the first issue selling over 40,000 copies on March 30, 2008.
Isolezwe ngeSonto breaks launch records
On the back of a highly successful daily title and overwhelmingly positive research, the popular modern Zulu daily tabloid's brand has been extended into the weekend market.

“Sure, there were some nerves in the newsroom on the first Saturday night,” says Philani Mgwaba who was launch editor of the daily Isolezwe, and is advising on the Sunday edition. “Fortunately we've attracted a highly competent team of Zulu reporters and subs to work on the new title.

“We've got a strong team that's touch with modern trends and issues but also rigorous in compiling a quality newspaper. This team dynamic is crucial for the success of what is a lighter, more lifestyle orientated product than the daily Isolezwe,” says Mgwaba.

“The emphasis on Sundays is different,” says Mgwaba. “It's a weekend pace making sport, entertainment and lifestyle topics priorities.

“We pay particular attention to being different because we don't want readers migrating from the Monday to Sunday title. Our initial sales feedback is that this hasn't happened, with Monday April 1's sale one of best this year,” says Mgwaba.

Isolezwe ngeSonto is distributed through KwaZulu-Natal but initial sales are stronger within greater Durban. “We've adapted the daily title's distribution plan to Sundays,” says Circulation Director, Lorne Maclaine. “Whether someone spends their whole weekend in their township neighbourhood, or takes a taxi into town, they must be able to easily get a copy of Isolezwe ngeSonto.

“Stocked by upwards of 2,500 outlets, it is our challenge to get around KwaZulu-Natal as early as possible and engender a new Sunday buying habit,” says Maclaine.

Isolezwe ngeSonto breaks launch records
It shows confidence to launch a title at a time when the economy is under pressure. “We were very conservative in our advertising projections,” says Independent KZN MD, Brian Porter. “Thankfully, so far our confidence has been well-placed and we're very grateful for the bullish advertising support we've attracted.

“The plan was for a 28-page tabloid but advertising volumes have pushed us up to 32 pages for our first two issues which has been a boost for the editorial team as well as our readers,” says Porter.

Initial reader response has been good too. In research groups, Isolezwe daily readers said they had had been waiting expectantly for Isolezwe to publish on Sundays. Readers are saying “at last, now we've got something to read on Sundays.”

The main advertising medium for the launch of the Sunday edition has been exposure in the daily title, supported by billboards and a radio campaign.

Marketing activities include in-store promotions and a reader competition. Readers stand to win cash, cellphones and furniture vouchers.

“It was such a buzz in Umlazi Megacity on the first Sunday,” says Promotions Manager, Precious Gumede. “We had people queuing to buy the paper and participate in the competition.

“Our roll-out for the year includes more reader competitions and events which tie in with the Sunday market,” says Gumede. “These include linking with the wildly popular Isolezwe Inthandokazi Women's Club, Mother's and Father's Day promotions, an Arts Festival and car giveaways,” says Gumede.

11 Apr 2008 16:12

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