Peter Bruce, publisher of BDFM. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Peter Bruce, publisher of BDFM. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

BDFM Publishers, the owner of Business Day and Financial Mail, announced on Monday that acting MD and publisher Peter Bruce would take on the role of BDFM publisher and editor-in-chief while reassuming the editorship of Business Day.

Mr Bruce appointed BDFM acting chief operating officer Nathi Maramnco as chief operating officer. "Mr Maramnco will run the business, and as editor-in-chief and publisher, I’ll set overall strategy," he said.

BDFM, a joint venture between Times Media Group and Pearson in the UK, is undergoing significant changes to grow revenue and address industry-wide challenges — including new JSE rules whereby listed companies are now able to make only short-form financial notices in newspapers rather than publishing large financial results statements.

In the online space, Business Day was due to establish a paywall to access articles on its website beyond a free monthly quota, while the publication’s shift to a tabloid-sized newspaper, due in May, would make it easier to read and "easier to accommodate smaller financial notices on a full page", Mr Bruce said.

Business Day and Financial Mail’s newsrooms were also to be more closely integrated, which was "what the market wants".

The group also intended to rename its Summit Television channel as Business Day Television, "or a suitable version of that, in order to leverage the brand".

The defensive part of BDFM’s strategy was to hold on to its financial notices revenue, while a more aggressive focus was to find new business in the rest of Africa. Mr Bruce said he was targeting "R70m-worth of advertising out of Africa in the next two years".

Mr Maramnco said the group would focus on increasing the contribution of newspaper sales towards revenue, as advertising revenue declined due to the JSE’s rule changes.

His job was to facilitate the changes being made in the group, while looking after its day-to-day operations and "making sure that we look after the financial health of BDFM and its sustainability long term".