Several magazines and newspapers, including Sunday Sun and Son op Sondag, could soon be closed down as Media24 embarks on restructuring, the company announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, Media24 also said the process could affect 510 employees as it battles to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its print media operations.
It is considering closing five magazines and two newspapers. Two more newspapers could be published digitally only. “The company will start consultations with staff today,” it said.
Media24 CEO Ishmet Davidson said, “The pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing and longterm structural decline in print media, resulting in a devastating impact on our own already fragile print media operations with significant declines in both circulation and advertising since April.”
He added that the company will accelerate its transition to digital formats with a particular focus on News24 and Netwerk24. It will also publish DRUM magazine in digital format only.
Among its magazines, Media24 will close Move!, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling and Runner’s World. Baba & Kleuter and Your Pregnancy will now be published independently by Helen Schöer through a licensing agreement.
Editorial production of Fairlady, SARIE, SA Hunter/Jagter, True Love, tuis | home, Weg! | go! and Weg! Ry & Sleep | go! and Drive & Camp as well as the fortnightly Kuier will be outsourced.
The company will also reduce the frequency of its monthly magazines to six issues per year, and eight issues for tuis | home, SA Hunter/Jagter and Man Magnum. Weekly magazines Huisgenoot, YOU and Landbouweekblad will remain untouched.
Media24 said it plans to close down Sunday Sun, Son op Sondag and the Eastern Cape edition of Son. It will also publish Volksblad and Die Burger Oos-Kaap as weekday digital editions only on Netwerk24.
It will close the following community newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal: Amanzimtoti Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Hillcrest Fever and Maritzburg Fever.
Noordkaap and Kalahari Bulletin will be consolidated into a single newspaper called Noordkaap Bulletin, and Kroonnuus and Vrystaat Nuus into Vrystaat Kroonnuus. Theewaterskloof Gazette will be consolidated into Hermanus Times, while The Witness‘ transition to digital will be accelerated.
“The planned interventions are expected to affect around 510 staff members (with a proposed reduction of close on 660 positions) out of a total staff complement of 2,971, largely across the print media and distribution divisions,” Media24 said.