The fragmentation of the South African magazine market : the spawning of niches

Voigt, Caryn (2008-12)

Thesis (MPhil (Journalism))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


During the first five to six years of the twenty-first century, the South African magazine industry fragmented at a rapid rate and consumers had an ever-expanding choice of titles. The spawning of niche markets as a result of this fragmentation was bolstered by a period of sustained growth in the South African economy, buoyed by conditions in global economic markets. The research assignment focuses on the fragmentation of the South African magazine market and the subsequent spawning of niche markets. The decline in the market that followed the period of sustained growth is also taken into account. Qualitative research methodology was used to investigate the research question. The broad theoretical frameworks applied are postmodernism, the fragmentation that occurs as a result of postmodernism, and specifically the political economy of the media. The short-term and long-term challenges for magazines are discussed. These include increased competition, greater consolidation, decreasing adspend, diminishing marketshare, and the arrival of broadband in South Africa. Within the context of greater fragmentation and increased competition, it is found that the increase in the number of magazine titles starts to slow, and eventually show negative growth. This is a result of the global and local economic climate, as well as elements within the political economy of the media, namely consolidation and concentration of ownership within the local industry.

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