Afrikaans (tabloid) newspaper SONDAG is no more…

I received a tip-off a bit earlier today, but missed the message completely. But when I checked and follow-up on it all, it seemed to be true; SONDAG newspaper is no more, and has been closed with immediate effect.

It all started before 11:00 this morning, when staff were called for a “conference in half an hour”;

And then these tweets followed;

Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr seemed to be very happy with the news;

And some people just take it a bit too far…

My 1st concern is always about the staff, and what will happen to them… but Yolanda Barnard, one of the journalists who has been with the title since the start (and who has caused TONS of controversy in her time), tweeted the following;

But how did their sales do week after week? 

When taking into account that this tabloid newspaper is only sold in the Gauteng area, and that it’s got a very niche market (to put it lightly), they actually didn’t do too badly. Yes, their sales are down quarter after quarter, but take in mind that a massive title like Son op Sondag (Son’s Sunday paper) has an ABC of 54 367 (Quarter 2, 2013). And the massive country wide and popular Rapport has an ABC of 192 328 (Quarter 2, 2013). So percentage wise, and for the type of content they created, they actually didn’t do badly at all…

SONDAG – Soos Dit Is

2012, Q2 2012, Q3 2012, Q4 2013, Q1 2013, Q2
39 882 39 085 35 307 35 861 33 129

What type of content did they produce?

The following covers is the best way to give you a taste of what readers could expect every issue;

Sondag 6 OctoberSondag 15 Sept Sondag 20 October Sondag 22 Sept Sondag 25 August

Their content was always tabloid, in the best sense of the word. They loved outing (and talking bad) about Afrikaans personalities, and airing peoples dirty laundry in their paper. Anything from priests not ‘following the correct path’, to gay singers, to exposing ‘gay-culture’. And their readers loved boobs; so they had their weekly full page girl showing her breasts, and they even had a very popular competition where a reader could win a boob job (see winner below)! Happy reading…

Adam 20 October Boobjob 13 October Boobs 20 October Dominee 20 October Gay roulette 25 August Skooldrama 25 August

One thing is for sure; they always stayed true to the brand, even in the way the editor spoke to his readers;

I’m one of those people who tried to sneak a peak at SONDAG when ever I can; part of me to see how trashy it is, and another part of me to see what the new scandal is and who’s saying what about who… So yes, I am/was a SONDAG reader for my own personal readers. It’s definitely not everyones cup of tea, but I know that they have a big following, and a big readership who will really miss them!

I always say; It doesn’t matter what people read, as long as they read. And the SONDAG-reader read this newspaper from front to back, every single article (from reader letters, and talking to people). Not many newspaper can claim that… It was a fun read, and good for what it was, so it’s a pity that the past Sundays’ issue was their last, without them being able to give their readers a final goodbye (and a possible reason).

I wish the whole editorial team (18 in total, according to a tweet a read) all the best, and really hope a plan can be made within Media24… One of the worst things that can happen to anyone just a few weeks before Christmas…

Press Release:

Media24 News has announced that the Sunday tabloid Sondag will be closed, effective immediately. The last edition appeared on Sunday, 20 October.

Launched in May 2008, this Sunday publication was aimed at the Afrikaans speaking tabloid market in Gauteng, Free State, KZN and Northern provinces. It does not affect the tabloid titles Son and Son op Sondag, published in the Western and Eastern Cape, which still form part of the company’s future operational strategies.

Minette Ferreira, General Manager for Northern Newspapers, said: “Sondag has fought many battles, but unfortunately the current trading conditions have made it impossible for the company to continue publishing the title. The future outlook in terms of income growth remains weak.”

Although the product maintained a circulation in the mid-thirty thousands the title lacked real advertising revenue and an aggressive cover price strategy over the last three years has been the predominant revenue driver.

Commenting on Sondag’s closure, editor Peet Bothma said: “Being a tabloid, Sondag was an exciting publication to work for. We moved the boundaries of journalism and it is a sad day for all when a newspaper closes its doors.”

Media24 News management will try to accommodate the affected employees in alternative positions within the business.

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