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Thursday, September 22, 2005

South Africa: Afrikaans newspapers growing or not growing?

As ABC figures were released in August they showed a 4,5% decrease of the circulation of Afrikaans dailies for the period of January to June compared to the same time one year on (see article on circulation figures). However that does not mean that Afrikaans dailies are facing a downward trend, argues BizCommunity.com....

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language and is one of South Africa's official languages, besides English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana and Venda. Afrikaans is the native language of around 14 per cent of South Africa's population.

Commenting on the circulation figures in general, Gordon Patterson, Managing Director of Starcom said that the print media are in a good shape. On the declining circulation of Afrikaans dailies he said in an article on BizzCommunity.com (August 17): "Newspapers targeting the black market have shown strong increases, but Afrikaans newspapers declined across the board. My gut feel is that the editorial is no longer as relevant as it used to be. The news is the same in the Afrikaans and English titles and as English becomes increasingly accepted as South Africa's business language, economically active Afrikaans readers will become more and more comfortable consuming news in either language. The Afrikaans press need to re-look their editorial policy and find ways to add value to retain their readers."

However, a more recent article on BizCommunity.com (August 25) argues that the trend is opposite if one includes the tabloid Son, that is sold daily from Monday to Thursday in the Western Cape and as a national weekly on Fridays, but for which exists no official ABC figures yet. When taking unaudited sales figures into consideration it "is clear that Afrikaans speakers still prefer to read news in their mother tongue, whether it be business- or hard news". This claim is further backed by the results of the All Media and Products Surveys (AMPS) for the past 4 years. They show a growing preference for Afrikaans newspapers by Afrikaans speakers. The latest results date however back to 2004. The article concludes, "Afrikaans speakers today, are more loyal to newspapers in their mother tongue than 15 years ago and total circulation of Afrikaans Dailies is increasing."

Sources: BizCommunity.com, Journalism.co.za

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on September 22, 2005 at 03:21 PM | Permalink

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