An investigation into the launch of a tabloid, English-medium newspaper aimed at the mid-tolower segment of the newspaper readership market in selected areas of South Africa

Sampson, Fergus G. (1999-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 1999.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The general decline in newspaper circulation indicates that the newspaper industry is under threat from other media such as television and radio (Swift, 1995: 1 00). However, closer inspection of individual newspaper titles reveals that highly targeted newspapers like Sowetan, Business Day, Beeld, etc. manage to maintain or increase circulation (Audit Bureau of Circulation, 1986-1998). On the other hand, newspapers that caters for disparate market segments, experienced circulation declines between 1986 and 1998 (Audit Bureau of Circulation, 1986-1998). Newspaper's share of total advertising revenue is also in decline (Adindex, 1986-1998). However, advertising revenue for the newspaper industry as a whole increased in line with total advertising revenue between 1986 and 1998. Although newspapers enjoy a smaller piece of the total advertising pie, the steady growth in revenue indicates substantial support and confidence from the advertising market for newspapers as a whole. Swift (Marketing Mix, 1995: 100) argues that newspapers must change their way of doing "news" in order to compete effectively against television, radio, the illtemet and other forms of popular media. "If newspapers are to survive, they must either become niche products by providing in-depth coverage and interpretation of specialists aspects of human endeavour or emulate the British tabloids and peddle entertainment for all they're worth" (Swift, 1995: 101). The latter aspect of Swift's assertion is the basis of the attached study. The study project examines the South African newspaper market in general and the greater Gauteng newspaper market specifically in the form of a business plan, with the aim of finding a viable niche for a daily, English-medium tabloid newspaper. The African Sun Business Plan concludes that the market for such a newspaper does exists amongst working class South Africans in and around selected urban centres. The plan examines the target market and the economics ofthe newspaper business. The marketing plan examines the best options to reach the target market. The product development plan and the operations plan describe the product and the operations ofthe proposed business and the financial plan examines the feasibility ofthe venture. The data suggests that national circulation and advertising trends favour newspapers that are highly targeted and driven by the information needs of their selected target markets (Audit Bureau of Circulation, 1986-1998, Adindex, 1986-1998). The business plan concludes that there is a lucrative market in South Africa for a daily, English-medium, mass circulation tabloid newspaper. The plan also proposes an operating structure including the financing requirements of the business, required staff, location product specifications and a market entry strategy. "It's time to emulate the Sun and the Mirror (of England) because if the liberal consensus is correct and all men are equal, why shouldn't the British tabloid approach work for our whinging masses as effectively as it does for the whining Poms?" (Swift, 1995: 102).

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: OPSOMMING Die algemene afname in koerantsirkulasies dui daarop dat die koerantbedryf deur ander media soos televisie en radio bedreig word (Swift, 1995: 100). By nadere ondersoek van individuele koeranttitels het dit egter aan die lig gekom dat hoeteikenkoerante soos Sowetan, Business Day, Beeld, ensovoorts, daarin slaag om sirkulasie te behou en selfs te verbeter (Audit Bureau of Circulation, 1986-1998). In teenstelling het koerante wat vir ongelyksoortige marksegmente voorsiening maak 'n sirkulasie afname ondervind tussen 1986 en 1998 (Audit Bureau of Circulation, 1986-1998). Koerante se aandeel in die totale reklame-inkomste is ook besig om te daal (Adindex, 1986- 1998). Die reklame-inkomste vir die koerantbedryf in sy geheel het egter op een lyn met die totale reklame-inkomste toegeneem tussen 1986 en 1998 (Adindex, 1986-1998). Alhoewel koerante 'n kleiner deel van die totale reklamebesteding geniet as voorheen, dui die geleidelike toename in koerant reklame inkomste groei, aansienlike ondersteuning en vertroue deur die reklamemark in koerante oor die algemeen. Swift (Marketing Mix, 1995: 100) voer aan dat koerante hulle metode van "nuusaanbieding" moet verander ten einde doeltreffend teen televisie, radio, die Internet en ander vorme van populere media te kompeteer. "If newspapers are to survive, they must either become niche products by providing in-depth coverage and interpretation of specialists aspects of human endeavour or emulate the British tabloids and peddle entertainment for all they're worth" (Swift, 1995: 101). Laasgenoemde aspek van Swift se bewering vorm die grondslag van die megaande studie. Die African Sun Business Plan stel voor dat 'n daaglikse, kompakte, Engelsmediumkoerant van stapel gestuur word wat op Suid-Afrikaners in die werkersklas in en om aangewese stedelike sentra gerig is. In navolging van Swift se redenasie ondersoek die meegaande sakeplan die koerantbedryf in sy geheel en die groter Gauteng mark in besonder. Die plan ondersoek besonderhede van die teikenmark en die ekonomie van die koerantbedryf. 'n Volledige bemarkingsplan ondersoek die beste opsies waardeur die teikenmark bereik kan word. Die produkontwikke1ingsplan en die bedryfsplan beskryf die produk en die werksaamhede van die voorgestelde sake-ondememing, en die finansiele plan ondersoek die uitvoerbaarheid van die ondememing. Die data suggereer dat nasionale koerant sirkulasie en reklame-tendense meer gunstig teenoor koerante wat markgerig is en gedryf word deur die inligtingsbehoeftes van geselekteerde teikenmarkte (Audit Bureau of Circulation, 1986-1998). Die sakeplan kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat daar 'n winsgewende mark in Suid-Afrika bestaan vir In daaglikse, Engels-medium, massasirkulasie kompakte koerant. Die plan stel ook 'n bedryf struktuur voor, met inbegrip van die finansieringsvereistes, personeelbehoeftes, ligging, produkspesifikasies en 'n marktoetrede strategie. "It's time to emulate the Sun and the Mirror (of England) because if the liberal consensus is correct and all men are equal, why shouldn't the British tabloid approach work for our whinging masses as effectively as it does for the whining Poms?" (Swift, 1995: 102).

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