Media24 is set to close several of its major print publications, including City Press, Rapport, Beeld, and Daily Sun, in October, according to Moneyweb.

Die Burger is the only print publication expected to continue circulation.

“Media24 continuously reviews its operations to protect viability and long-term sustainability within the context of its transition to an increasingly digital media landscape,” said CEO Ishmet Davidson.

“We will also continue to consult with staff about any potential and subsequent actions and remain committed to following due process. We do not comment on rumours or speculation, nor on the details of any internal processes,” he told Moneyweb.

This strategic move comes as Media24, alongside other companies in the print sector, faces significant financial challenges driven by rising distribution costs, declining advertising revenue, and a shift in readership towards online platforms. It also comes as print circulations decrease.

Rapport’s circulation has dropped precipitously from over 330 000 twenty for years to 60 000 in 2024. City Press’s circulation has plunged from 233 000 to around 14 000 from 233 000  in the same period, and Beeld’s circulation decreased from over 100 000 to 20 000. 

These figures reflect a global trend as print media continues to decline as readers move away to source information digitally. Media24 owner Naspers is not alone, publishers such as Arena’s Sunday Times and Business Day, are experiencing similar pressures.

Rapport was established in the 1970s from its predecessor, Die Beeld which was established in the 1970s. City Press, originally known as Golden City Press, was established in 1982. Naspers took over City Press and other titles including Drum and True Love and Family in 1984. Daily Sun, a tabloid newspaper, has a significant readership in South Africa and was launched in 2002. 

The closure of the publication marks a sad and desperate time for South African media. 

Reflecting on the closure of these print publications, journalist and a leader in the media industry, Anton Harber wrote in a column for the Daily Maverick that other print publications are likely to see the same fate, and while it is inevitable, it leaves a major gap in the quality of news we consume online. 

“These threatened closures signal the crumbling of our news industry. There are already fewer news sources, fewer newsrooms and fewer journalists, and this latest development is a quickening of this process.”

“Already our local, community media – a key element of the news ecology which feeds small stories into the big media – has shrunk considerably. Now we are seeing the decimation and even collapse of many of our larger newsrooms coming sooner than expected.”

He added that the function of the media needs to be re-established and given greater importance in our democracy. 

“If we don’t wake up and see that the news media is another public utility – like water and electricity – that we need to fix and make work, we are in serious trouble.”