by Herman Manson (@marklives) The covid-19-related hard lockdown in March 2020 and the resultant, ongoing economic crisis have severely impacted the media industry broadly but print media faces a particularly tough environment — borne out in a large number of non-submissions to the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa, which certifies circulation data for print media. As a result, MarkLives is unable to publish our usual comprehensive analysis of ABC Q2 2020 circ data.

Only approximately one-third of ABC member publications submitted circ data for the period April–June 2020. This is due to the ABC board allowing publishers the option not to submit circulation data if their circulation has been materially impacted by the crisis. The board will be making a decision regarding the “normal”/compulsory submission of data from the next period (July–September 2020).


Not a single daily, weekly or weekend newspaper reported any numbers at all (not one!).


Notable magazine titles failing to submit any Q2 2020 data included Financial Mail, Noseweek, Popular Mechanics, Stuff, Bike SA, Car, Caravan & Outdoor Life/Kamp & Karavaan, Driven Magazine, SA4x4, Compleat Golfer, SA Flyer, SA Rugby, Getaway and TravelIdeas, among others.

Titles that have been discontinued, according to the ABC submission, include Habitat, REAL|life Magazine, Leisure Wheels and Your Baby*.

When Associated Media closed in May 2020, it took Cosmopolitan South Africa, House & Leisure, Good Housekeeping South Africa and Women on Wheels with it. A few days later, Caxton announced the closure of titles such as Bona, Country Life, Essentials, Food & Home, Garden & Home, People, Rooi Rose, Vrouekeur, Woman & Home and Your Family. At the time, it noted that the titles might be on the market if outside parties put offers on the table. A couple of months later, in July, Media24 also announced the closure of Move!, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling and Runner’s World. DRUM went digital-only.

Total submitted circulation numbers for magazine fell from 3 028 784 in Q2 2019 to only 1 938 267. In the woman’s general category, figures declined from 568 794 copies to a reported 231 410. Travel, tourism and hospitality fell from 268 579 to 140 967 reported copies. Motoring fell from 169 255 to zero reported copies.

  • The publisher of Landbouweekblad Boerekos confirms that the title has not been discontinued in spite of the ABC data capture indicating that it did. The ABC listing should have stated ‘delisted’ rather than ‘discontinued’. As a precaution we also removed other Media24 brand extensions from the list including Kuier Combo, Sarie Woon and Sarie Bruid.

See also

Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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