MEDIA24’s Sports Illustrated will be the latest casualty in an industry that has been grappling with declining revenue and circulation figures, an employee of Media24 has confirmed to Business Day.
The magazine, which Media24 refers to on its website as the "most successful and enduring multisport magazine in South Africa’s publishing history", saw circulation in the quarter between July and September fall to 18,055, compared with 24,346 over the same period last year, according to ABC figures.
Sports Illustrated is owned by Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers, and joins a number of peers that have been the victims of a rapidly changing media landscape.
Media24 has closed SA Garden/Tuin, NewsNow and tabloid newspaper Scoop! this year, as well as its health and wellness magazine, Shape, in October, after a review of Shape’s business case revealed it was unlikely to recover in the near future.
In an e-mailed response to Business Day on Monday, Media24 Magazines CEO John Relihan said: "It is not our policy to respond to industry rumours or speculation. Any developments that concern our titles and/or staff are discussed internally and in confidence. Decisions are made in consultation with those involved."
Mr Relihan said at the time of Shape’s closing in October: "Unfortunately, Shape has over the past 18 months seen both advertising and circulation losing the traction it once enjoyed.
"Our obligation to shareholders is to deliver returns, which also implies that we continuously assess the sustainability of our publishing investments."
The last issue of NewsNow to go to print was the September 6 issue. Media24 said the title failed " to gain either circulation or advertising traction on the levels projected at the time of launch".
American magazine Newsweek announced earlier this year that from next year it would be an online publication only.