So by now, people who follow the industry news, will know that the current issue of Sports Illustrated South Africa (February 2013) is the last issue published by Media24, but still no one knows when and if it will live on and be published by a different publisher… I had a chat with the ex-editor Ami Kapilevich to try and clarify a few points…
UPDATE: For a collage of all the Sports Illustrated covers of the past 27 years, be sure to have a look at the bottom of the post.
UPDATE 14 May 2013: I’ve uploaded an article below about the closure of Sports Illustrated, that was published in the May 2013 issue of Advantage magazine. (If you click on the image, you should be able to read the article, and what ex-editor Ami had to say)
Sports Illustrated South Africa
- Issue: February 2013
- Price: R35
- Twitter: @SI_SouthAfrica
- Editor on Twitter: @biobot
It all started with a few rumours on Twitter in November 2012, that Media24 has decided not to renew the license to publish Sports Illustrated South Africa. As you’ll read in my original post in December, the editor didn’t say much about the rumours, except “no comment” which is of course also an answer. Other than that, and as far I saw, no mention or official statement was at all made on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the brand.
I now learned that one of the reasons why everything was kept so quiet is because there very sensitive negotiations about the license between Media24 and Time Inc, so no one could say anything about the situation. (But it still doesn’t explain why nothing has been released by now…)
In the ed’s letter, there is only one very small mention of the ‘closure’ of the title (see below, 3rd last paragraph), which I queried. This is also the only mention in the whole magazine. “I didn’t know right until the end whether or not I was even allowed to mention the closure of the magazine in the Editor’s Letter. But the negotiations must have been concluded at the very last minute because I was instructed to mention the closure a day before we went to print”, said Ami.
My suspicion is that a majority of the Sports Illustrated readers still don’t know the bad news, and when next month comes and they’re looking out for their March 2013 issue, they’re going to be extremely confused… The little mention in the ed’s letter just isn’t enough, and the very little (read ‘none’) communication on their social media platforms doesn’t help the cause at all. Both social media platforms are still live and active, but Ami also confirmed that he doesn’t know until when they will still be active. My guess would be that they would stay active, and have to be move over to the new publishers once it’s all been signed.
On that note, the industry rumour is that a few publishing houses have been in talks and negotiations to take over the license and continue publishing the great title. Highbury Safika Media and CEO Kevin Ferguson has definitely showed interest in the title, and have even tweeted about it. My gut is telling me that we will hear very soon that HSM (currently publishing these great sporting titles) has won the license and will start re-publishing Sports Illustrated in the 2nd half of 2013.
It’s a pity that these negotiations couldn’t have happened earlier, as all staff has been retrenched. Ami, who started as editor of Sports Illustrated middle 2011, has unfortunately also been retrenched, and is currently “doing a bit of freelancing, getting back into writing and looking for gainful employment.” His massive amount of talent will hopefully be picked up soon by someone in the magazine industry, and I wish him and his whole team all the best in this difficult time.
2012 ABC RESULTS OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SOUTH AFRICA
Sports Illustrated showed a decline of 23,8%, dropping from 26 130 down to 19 899. For the Oct – Dec 2011 period, they recorded an ABC of 19 416. So even though they are significantly lower, they are still on par when looking at the last 2 periods.
Sports Illustrated showed a slight decline of 3,2%, dropping from 19 899 down to 19 265. You might remember that in November 2011 (the famous month of their Swimwear Issue), they published it as a stand-alone for the very first time. At the same time, they still had the normal November Sports Illustrated cover. Rumour is that this wasn’t a smart move, as their normal November issue didn’t sell nearly as well as in previous years, so this of course brought down their ABC drastically. They’ve not released the ABC of thestand-alone issue of Sports Illustrated Swimwear: 30 261.