A Local Focus is a Caxton Local Papers and SPARK Media initiative to focus business decision-makers attention on the local newspaper market, which has remained resilient through the testing times of the pandemic. In the last quarter of 2020, an average of 4,885,614 local newspapers were distributed regularly.

Local papers now constitute the lion’s share of newspapers distributed in South Africa:79%. Their health and ongoing relevance indisputably counter the dominant doom-laden narrative about the demise of newspapers frequently bandied about media agencies and marketing departments. Both the latest and the historic trend data, released by the

Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC), are testimony to the unique position that local newspapers have in the media landscape. Their distinctive distribution model and special role in the lives of household decision-makers gave them advantages when the COVID-19 crisis struck, curbing mobility, creating fear of contact and hurting pockets. A combination of their close understanding of their communities’ needs and agility allowed local newspapers to innovate during lockdown.

As South Africa works towards recovery, it is clear that businesses cannot afford wasted marketing investment. Kantar’s Business Compass shows that marketing, trade marketing, media and research budget cuts across the board were more frequent and deeper in South Africa than the global benchmark. It shows that businesses recognise the need to change or be changed.

Businesses are reviewing how best to communicate with their consumers and how to optimise their media budgets; it is time to destroy myths and dispense with faddish tendencies in media decision-making and ensure that effective campaigns are delivered during this time of rebuilding. The following articles provide the business decision-maker with the insights and information to understand the valuable role that local news brands play in consumers’ lives and on effective media schedules.

 

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