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Isolezwe bucks trends with soaring sales

Isolezwe, the modern Zulu daily, is bucking trends in the local and international newspaper industry, taking a spectacular upward trajectory as sales soared to record levels in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Isolezwe and Isolezwe ngeSonto’s editorial team is in touch with their readers – taking the titles from strength to strength.
Isolezwe and Isolezwe ngeSonto’s editorial team is in touch with their readers – taking the titles from strength to strength.
Audited circulation figures show that, on average, 104 320 copies of the Zulu daily were sold during October to December 2009.

“This breaks all previous records,” says Circulation and Marketing Director, Lorne Maclaine.

“Historically, Isolezwe's first quarter sales have been strongest. But, the high of 102 454 recorded in the first quarter of 2009 has been overtaken by unprecedented fourth quarter sales.”

The 2009 sale is a 5.3% increase over 2008 fourth quarter sales which have tracked just short of 100 000.

“What makes this figure even more remarkable is that matric results were delayed until January this year. Unlike previous years, the sales from that bumper edition are not included in this quarter but will be reflected in the first quarter of 2010,” says Maclaine.

Growth has been organic, with no bulk or NIE in the daily sale.

After nearly two years in the market, Isolezwe's Sunday sibling, Isolezwe ngeSonto is rapidly growing with sales leaping a huge 24.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter.

“We've been cautious with the Sunday title,” says Joint GM, Independent Newspapers KZN, Brian Porter. “It's one thing to have a popular title but we owe it to our readers to ensure that our titles, even new ones, are sustainable in the longer term.”

“Both cover price and ad revenues need to deliver to keep a title in the market and this has been the case with Isolezwe ngeSonto. The title has an extremely bright future,” says Porter.

“We've seen a long-term structural change in the market,” says Maclaine. “It's obvious that, until the launch of Isolezwe in 2002, that there was an unfulfilled need among readers who wanted a relevant newspaper in their own language - Zulu.”

“Prior to the launch of Isolezwe, about 200 000 Zulu-language newspapers were selling every week. That figure has surged up to 700 000, primarily because of Isolezwe!

“In an industry typified around the world as having to defend circulation figures, the Zulu-language market is expanding beyond all expectations with the potential to go bigger - much bigger. This year's sales are already bearing this out.”

9 Mar 2010 11:28

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