Media 24 shuts down Daily Sun, City Press and other newspapers: 400 people to lose their jobs


In an unprecedented move that has sent shockwaves throughout the South African media industry, Media24, the country's leading media conglomerate, has announced the closure of several iconic newspapers. Beeld, Rapport, City Press, Daily Sun, and Soccer Laduma, which have been pillars of the nation's news landscape for decades, will bid farewell to their loyal readers as they transition into the digital realm. This strategic decision comes as Media24 seeks to adapt to the evolving preferences of today's tech-savvy audiences.

Less than a week after rumours began circulating about the potential closure of four print publications at Media24, the company has confirmed that about 800 jobs will be directly affected.

Citing changes in media consumption with a marked move towards online publications, managing director Ishmet Davidson said structural declines in circulation and advertising for decades, combined with rising fixed distribution costs, had a devastating impact on print operations.

“As a result, our titles in the northern region have been on life support for a while. Combined losses are projected to mount to R200-million over the next three years. After years of cutbacks, we’ve reached the end of cost reductions to try save these print operations. We’ve simply run out of options,” he said.

The news of these closures has left many South Africans in a state of disbelief and nostalgia. For generations, these publications have played a vital role in shaping public opinion, uncovering hard-hitting stories, and capturing the essence of South African culture. The decision to shut down these print editions represents a seismic shift in the media landscape, as the digital revolution continues to reshape the way news is consumed.

According to Ishmet Davidson, CEO of Media24, this restructuring process is expected to result in substantial job losses, with approximately 400 positions being affected. However, Davidson ensures that some roles may be transferred to Novus Holdings, a move that could potentially alleviate the impact on the workforce. The consultations with staff and the subsequent transfer of sold businesses to the new owner will commence this week.

As part of this transformative journey, Media24 plans to transform Rapport, City Press, and Daily Sun into digital-only brands. Rapport and City Press will find their new digital homes at Netwerk24 and News24, respectively. Readers will still be able to access Beeld, Volksblad, and Die Burger Oos on Netwerk24. These strategic moves aim to strengthen Media24's digital news presence and cater to the evolving preferences of its diverse audience.

The closure of Daily Sun, a publication widely regarded as a voice for the middle market, will not mark its end. Media24 plans to relaunch the brand as a standalone and free e-news site, ensuring that its unique blend of news and entertainment continues to resonate with its loyal readership. This renewed focus on digital platforms will enable Media24 to channel its resources into building a sustainable model for digital news journalism.

While the closures of these esteemed publications are undoubtedly a significant loss for the print industry, Media24's CEO remains steadfast in his belief that a digital future is inevitable. Davidson highlights the changing landscape of news consumption, stating, "People now read more news than ever, but most prefer to do so on their cellphones or laptops."

In an era dominated by global tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, and TikTok, Media24 recognizes the need to adapt and compete with these well-funded, offshore digital platforms.

Media24 is set to start a consultation process with affected staff, to be completed over the next three months, with 30 September earmarked as the last day of publication for the affected newspapers.

“We anticipate that the proposed restructure could result in at least 400 job losses, with 400 more positions transferring to Novus Holdings with the sale and some roles possibly needed beyond 30 September,” Davidson said. “We also intend reducing our corporate and support services and operational costs in line with the changes made in our business.”

“We are fully committed to managing this highly sensitive consultation with compassion while following the processes prescribed by law and intend to keep job losses – particularly amongst our journalists – to a minimum. Unfortunately, we cannot share any further details until the process has been concluded,” said Davidson.

It is important to note that Die Burger and Son, two prominent publications in the Western Cape, will remain unaffected by these changes. Their separate infrastructure and more concentrated local footprint have contributed to their continued viability. Davidson emphasizes the historical significance of Die Burger, as it holds the proud distinction of being the foundation upon which Naspers was built.

The closure of these newspapers also marks a significant shift in the advertising landscape. Advertisers will need to recalibrate their strategies to effectively reach their target audiences in the digital space, where competition for attention is fierce. As South Africa navigates this digital transformation, it is crucial for media organizations, advertisers, and consumers to adapt to the changing media landscape collectively.

While the closure of Beeld, Rapport, City Press, Daily Sun, and Soccer Laduma is undeniably a poignant moment in South African media history, it also serves as a reminder of the power of adaptation. As the digital era continues to unfold, Media24's strategic decision to embrace digital platforms underscores the industry's need to evolve. The legacy of these iconic publications will forever be etched in the annals of South African journalism, and their transition into the digital realm will undoubtedly shape the future of media in the Rainbow Nation.

Latest Gossip News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Latest Gossip News via email.

Leave a Reply