Over 500 jobs on the line at Media24
Media24 plans to close multiple newspapers and magazines subject to a finalisation of the plan, with over 500 jobs on the line.
In a statement on Tuesday, Media24 said it is considering the closure of five magazines and two newspapers, outsourcing and reducing the frequency of its remaining monthly magazines, taking two newspapers digital only, and reducing staff in related support services.
“The company will start consultations with staff today,” it said, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the group “hard”.
“However, the pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing and long-term 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. For many of our print titles, the benefits of prior interventions to offset the structural declines and keep them on the shelf no longer exist and we’ve run out of options in this regard.”
“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.”
About 510 employees are likely to be affected by the closures, with a proposed reduction of almost 660 positions out of a total staff completely of 2 971, Media24 said.
Under the proposals, titles affected include:
Magazines: A plan to close Move!, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling and Runner’s World. Drum moves to digital format only. A licensing agreement to publish Baba & Kleuter and Your Pregnancy will be concluded with the titles’ editor. Various other magazines will see their editorial production outsourced, including Fairlady, Sarie, SA Hunter/Jagter, True Love, tuis | home, Weg!, go!, Weg! Ry & Sleep | go! Drive & Camp and Kuier. The frequency of some titles will also be reduced.
Newspapers: Son op Sondag and Sunday Sun will be closed. The Eastern Cape edition of Son will be closed. Various other titles will become digital only. Four community papers will be closed, while others will be consolidated.