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TECHNOLOGY BURYING PRINT MEDIA ALIVE: Times of eSwatini drops from generating about R50million per-month in advertising revenue to around R4million.

Monday, 6th May, 2024

MBABANE: The emergence of the fourth Industrial Revolution is slowly ‘burying’ the print media alive, Times of eSwatini has dropped from generating over R1million per-day to about seventy thousand(R70,000.00) advertising revenue as the print media worldwide face challenges.

It has been noted that, most private and State companies now upload adverts on their social media pages where the audience have an option to share for a wider reach.

A majority of the youth born between 1998-2000 after the arrival of MTN Eswatini and exposed to technology and the internet have migrated to online platforms.

Eswatini print media is highly restricted from publishing critical articles against the government and the King and this might have also contributed to the decline in revenue as advertisers always analyse readership.

On Monday, the 6th May 2024, the Times had a few adverts from giant companies and this include the Eswatini Royal Insurance Corporation(ESRIC), Communications Commission, Pension Fund, Electricity Company, Royal Sugar Corporation, Water Services.

Worth-noting, out of the above named companies there was only one(1) full page that cost around twenty-thousand Rands(R20,000.00) per-day, the other companies opted for quarter pages that cost around ten thousand Rands(R10,000.00).

Before the emergence of technology, the Times that is still reluctant to fully migrate to online platforms, was generating about R50million per month including newspaper sales, the revenue is slowly dropping to about R4million and the newspaper might be forced to retrench or reduce employees.

When this journalist visited the Newsroom of the Mail&Guardian in Johannesburg-South Africa about three(3) years ago as per an invitation by the editors,less than five(5) employees were found in the newsroom.

Athandiwe Saba,the then news editor explained that, the print media was facing challenges worldwide,some newspapers subsequently opted to employ freelance journalists to reduce a wage bill.

A freelance journalist is a part-time writer who is paid per-story not a full time employee of the media company.

Martin Dlamini,the Managing editor the Times of eSwatini had not responded at the time of compiling this report.

Reached for comments by this Swaziland News on Monday, Mancoba Mabuza, a Public Relations expert with media experience said, the decline in print media advertising has been influenced by the advent of digital media.

“The alarming decline in advertising revenue for print media in Eswatini is reflective of a broader global trend. The advent of digital media has revolutionized how people consume news, with smartphones providing instant access to information around the clock. This shift has rendered traditional print publications increasingly obsolete, as consumers prioritize convenience and real-time news updates. Consequently, companies are re-allocating their advertising budgets towards digital platforms,leveraging websites, social media,and other online channels to engage with audiences effectively.In this evolving landscape, it's imperative for businesses to adapt their marketing strategies to remain competitive and resonate with today's tech-savvy consumers. Therefore, it is important for the print media to use innovative solutions and adapt to sustain the vitality of journalism and ensure diverse voices continue to thrive in the digital age, as well make profits from advertising”, said the Public Relations expert.

On another note, excluding the front page,from page two(2) to page six(6),the Times had only two(2) adverts Nkonyeni College and SMS Glass& Aluminum before the full page from ESRIC.

After the full page,the advertising drought 

‘erupted’ again from page eight(8) to page thirteen(13) where a quarter page from the Pension Fund was then featured. 

Thereafter an advert from Eswatini Electricity Company(EEC) is seen on page twenty(20), a Royal Sugar Corporation and legal notice of motion court advert on page twenty-one(21).

A few adverts are then seen on the Business pages and all the adverts when calculated based on the Times current advertising rates, amount to about R70,000.00.

Such drastic decline in advertising suggests that the giant newspaper is beginning to lose revenue as readers migrate to online news platforms.

Calculations based on the Times advertising rates further suggest that, the Times Sunday dated 05 May 2024 generated a huge lose with adverts from KFC, a strip from MTN Eswatini and Building Society among others, amounting to less than thirty thousand Rands(R30,000.00).

In the midst of the global decline in advertising in the print media, some newspapers have migrated to online collecting subscriptions from readers to access news, other online publications survive through donor funding.

TECHNOLOGY BURYING PRINT MEDIA ALIVE: Times of eSwatini drops from generating about R50million per-month in advertising revenue to around R4million.
Times editor Martin Dlamini.