While electronic media grows, print falls behind
The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) has released its latest data on the local media environment for January-December 2010. No news was construed as good news for print – on average, newspapers and magazine seemed to hold steady – while electronic media continued its growth path as more people are listening to radio, watching TV or surfing the Internet.
SAARF found cinema attendance stable (1.6% reach any given week, 19.2% reach for attendance within 12 months) while it noted out-of-home media has stabilised after a decline as reported in its June 2010 data set.
Middle class continues to expand
In spite of the recession, says SAARF, the middle class continues to expand, having grown to 20.3% of the population from 19.3%, compared to the previous reporting period (its June 10 data set, which covered July 2009 to June 2010).
However, 13.9% of the population still only earns between R800-R1 399 while 4.2% earns less than R800 a month. Access to appliances such as electric stoves have grown (to 62.0% from 60.3%) while access to microwaves (to 56.0% from 53.0%) and refrigerators (to 80.4% from 78.6%) also showed growth. Access to TV grew from 82.0% to 84.0%.
Shockingly, 65.1% of the adult population are not working, while 26.2% of South African adults have full-time work and 8.7% work part-time. The official (government-endorsed) unemployment rate stands at 24.0% for fourth quarter 2010.
SAARF’s figure, it should be noted, is for people who are “not working” and includes everybody from housewives (who would argue they work very hard – and would be right), students, retirees and the unemployed. As such, this category is likely to measure a larger population than just “unemployment”.
Print, says SAARF, remains stable, but its finding shows the average number of publications read (based on readers) is declining. Having read an average of 4.91 print publications (mags and newspapers) in December 2009, consumers read only 4.63 publications by June 2010 and this declined even further to 4.21 in December.
Among daily newspapers, the average issue readership stood at 29.4%, compared to the previous reporting’s period’s 29.2%, but no title showed any significant change to its total readership figure, according to SAARF.
Weeklies currently have an average issue readership reach of 33.4%, with a total readership of 11.351-million. The Sunday Times has shed readers – dropping from 12.0% penetration nationally to 11.2% and now stands at 3.8 million readers, while City Press saw its readership decline, from 6.2% to 5.5%, to 1.867 million readers.
Magazines also held steady except for fortnightlies, whose reach declined from 13.7% to 12.1% or to 4.132 million readers. Bona’s readership reach grew from 9.8% in AMPS June 10 to 10.6%, thanks to growth in rural areas which pushed its total readership up to 3.603-million. Dish/Skottel saw its readership rising, from 6.6% previously to 8.3% or 2.807-million readers.
Lost male readers
On the downside, TVPlus declined to 1.567 million readers, Amakhosi declined from 5.3% to 4.5% reach or 1.538 million readers. Top Billing magazine lost male readers in the metros – falling to 2.3% from 2.8% reach (a readership of 771 000).
In the women’s category, Fairlady declined from 2.9% reach to 2.2% for a readership of 742 000, while Marie Claire fell from 1.0% to 0.7% or a readership of 252 000. Living & Loving fell from 1.6% reach to 1.3%, or 446 000 readers. Rooi Rose saw its reach fall, from 2.7% to 2.2%, to a total readership of 752 000, while archrival Sarie declined to 767 000, with reach dropping from 2.7% to 2.3%.
As bad as the news is for print, so good is it for electronic media owners (and yet Government insist on entering the newspaper market, some would argue by proxy with The New Age, and more directly with Vuk’uzenzele).
TV viewing has increased to 88.5% of all South African adults in any given week, substantially up from 86.8%. Growth was driven by rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng, and SABC1 grew its weekly viewership from 75.6% to 76.8%.
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