In a move that will affect 510 staff members, Media24 CEO Ishmet Davidson has confirmed the closure of five magazines, two newspapers and a selection of community newspapers.
Additionally, the legendary DRUM magazine will become a digital-only title while other publications will hit the shelves less frequently.
These and other changes were announced at a company ‘town hall’ held on Tuesday and were later confirmed in a statement issued by the CEO.
A list of changes in magazines:
- Editors will become outsourced contractors
- Move!, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling and Runner’s World will be shut down
- Editorial production on monthly magazines – Fairlady, SARIE, SA Hunter/Jagter, True Love, tuis|home, Weg!|go! and Weg! Ry & Sleep/ go! Drive & Camp) as well as the fortnightly Kuier – will be outsourced
- Monthly titles will only get six issues per year
- Man Magnum, tuis|home and SA Hunter/Jager will only get eight issues per year
- The weeklies Huisgenoot, YOU and Landbouweekblad will continue to be produced and published in-house
- Parenting titles Baba & Kleuter and Your Pregnancy will be published independently under a licensing agreement with editor Helen Schöer
“These proposed changes mark one of the most difficult chapters in not only our own history, but also that of the South African media industry at large,” Davidson told The Media Online.
“Media24 followed a 197 process for the outsourcing of the content production on the remaining monthly magazines. Consultations around this are continuing this week,” he added.
Similarly, changes to the company’s distribution divisions, as well as divisional and corporate services departments, will impact 660 positions.
Changes to newspaper division:
- Four community newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal are closing: Amanzimtoti Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Hillcrest Fever and Maritzburg Fever
- Volksblad and Die Burger Oos-Kaap will be published as weekday digital editions only, available as complete PDFs on Netwerk24
- Son op Sondag, the Eastern Cape edition of Son and Sunday Sun are all closing
- Noordkaap and Kalahari Bulletin will be consolidated into a single newspaper called Noordkaap Bulletin as will Kroonnuus and Vrystaat Nuus which will become Vrystaat Kroonnuus
- Similarly, Theewaterskloof Gazette will be incorporated into Hermanus Times
- The Witness will also undergo a quicker digital transition
“Even with a return to pre-Covid-19 economic levels, the impact of the pandemic on our print media operations will be unrecoverable. Sadly, we have no choice but to restructure our business now to curtail the losses in our print portfolio and allow us to focus on keeping the retained titles sustainable and in print for as long as possible,” said Davidson in a statement.
Huge announcement from @media24 this morning. Several magazines, newspapers being affected. Drum, an iconic title, goes online only. Many are closing. Many are reducing in frequency. This follows closure of Associated Mags last month too. So sad for the industry! pic.twitter.com/KCSVA0OSrL
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) July 7, 2020
He concluded by sharing a promise made to staff to “manage this process with fairness, respect and compassion,” adding that Media24 has put together a special pack that includes information on how Media24 will continue to assist the people affected over the next few months.
“This includes access to business advice and special offers to ease the transition to the next chapter of their lives.”