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Q&A with Caxton: Content is Crucial to Local Media Success


In an age inundated with fake news, curating trust with a community is absolutely crucial to the success of local papers. To remain relevant, there’s a huge need for top quality editorial content. We spoke to Irma Green, National Group Editor of Caxton Local Media, about how their papers and digital platforms maintain content that is consistently high quality, newsworthy and relevant for the community that they serve.

  1. How is Caxton’s content the bloodline of the papers’ success?

Caxton’s local newspapers’ success is attributed to the fact that they are uniquely positioned to offer quality, hyper local content to its readers. Digital content consumption is a reality for media companies and Caxton has embraced it with title sites and a social media presence for all their publications. Although the newspapers still offer the reader content which can’t be found somewhere else.

  1. How does Caxton ensure that its journalists create quality content and provide instant ground-breaking news reporting?

The newsrooms are geared to deal with breaking news stories, which are published online immediately. But once a story is prepared for print, it’s important to find a new angle. Our readers want interpretation and palatable information when they pick up a newspaper. Our editors and journalists are constantly trained on how to deal with the changing news environment. When we train, we also focus on other areas like photography, media law, layout and design, subbing and headline writing. Upskilling our staff remains a priority in Caxton newsrooms.

  1. In the rush to be the first to break a big news story, there’s so much fake news out there. How does Caxton ensure that they are trusted content producers?

When it comes to publishing, our motto is “don’t be first, be right”. Newsrooms globally want to break news and offer it to their readers first. But, by doing this, some of the best news groups have burnt their fingers. Readers are tired of being fed fake news, they want reputable information from trusted sources. We strive to be that trusted source when publishing content. There are mistakes that go through, but we handle it swiftly and have processes in place to deal with it.

  1. Are Caxton’s digital assets as important as the print assets? How does the content reporting differ online to print?

Print and digital are “married”. Both are equal partners in the relationship and receive the same attention. The way we publish on the two platforms differ. Online is quick-paced. On our local sites we don’t often publish long feature type stories. Online offers journalists the scope to add various multi-media elements to a story, including video, podcasts, galleries and hyperlinks to similar stories. In print, our local newspapers focus on profiles, human interest stories, schools, clubs and community information unique to a particular area.

  1. What key aspect makes Caxton different to other media reporting companies?

Our extensive national reach. You will find a Caxton Local Newspaper in most small towns, regional hubs and provincial capitals. Our network of journalists operates from approximately 80 sites across South Africa, covering vast areas of our country. This enables the group to effectively deal with breaking news scenarios. With the assistance of Caxton’s national team, stories are easily shared across all the online platforms swiftly.

  1. How do social media platforms complement your content delivery?

Our newsrooms are all active on social media and share content on community groups daily. Our reporters are members on these groups which are rich sources of information and stories. Local communities eagerly participate in conversation on issues such as service delivery in the area.

  1. And lastly, what would you say about the future of local print?

If people ask me about the future of print, I just enquire whether they, a family member or their children have ever been in a local newspaper. Nine out of ten times these articles are cut out and kept in an album or scrapbook. Whether you are a young mother whose child has just been in the newspaper on their first day of school or a pensioner who has been photographed at a Christmas lunch, that clipping will be cherished and valued.

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Caxton responds to media reports about being fined by the Competition Commission

Paul Jenkins: Group Chairman, Caxton

On Friday, 16 February 2018, there was large scale media coverage around the fact that Caxton and Independent Media had paid an administrative penalty to the Competition Commission.

The matter related to Caxton settling a dispute that has been ongoing since 2011. It related to a structural mechanism between the advertising and media industries that has been in existence for over 100 years internationally. It concerns the custom of media owners paying a set commission for services rendered, based on the value of advertising placed. In South Africa, the commission was either 16.5% for accredited agencies or 15% for un-accredited agencies.

The Competition Commission formed the view that this custom was anti-competitive because there was an agreement or concerted practice between media owners to always apply those traditional commissions. The practice has since ceased and the media and advertising industry now negotiate commissions individually. Whilst Caxton believed the matter was contestable, it chose to accept the Competition Commission’s position and pay an administrative penalty rather than enter into lengthy legal proceedings. The settlement agreement was confirmed by the Competition Tribunal on 16 February 2017, in terms of which Caxton will pay a once-off administrative penalty of R5.8m, as well as contribute an amount of R700k per year for three years towards a bursary and development fund for previously disadvantaged persons in the media and advertising industries. It will also provide a 25% advertising space bonus benefit to small advertising agencies for three years, subject to certain rules and limits.

The Competition Commission has now reached settlement agreements on the similar terms with Multichoice/ DSTV Media Sales, Independent Newspapers and Caxton, and is instituting proceedings against another 25 large and small media owners, or is in the process of concluding similar settlements with them.

Subsequently, the media industry has implemented the required changes, with most companies choosing to operate on nett rate cards.

Caxton has decided, in certain instances, to continue with the commission system for now and has actually increased the commission rate to registered advertising practitioners by ½%

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The rise and rise of washroom media

Everybody uses it, we visit it at least a few times a day, we go there on our own and even though we’re only there for a short time, we remember great graphics and clever payoff lines from the washroom.

Industry leader in indoor lifestyle advertising in washrooms, airports, gyms, nightlife, cinema, fitting rooms and many other lifestyle focused environments TLC, is reaping the benefits of consistently delivering massive audiences and high recall at affordable advertising rates.

“Over the past few months we’ve seen brands in the washroom that would normally not so easily consider this environment,” says Greg Bruwer, TLC’s Managing Director. “Brands like Mastercard are relishing the marketing and sales returns of this platform, especially considering the monthly footfall in airports of over 3.7 million people. Conservatively if 75% of those people go through the washrooms, we have a captive audience of more than 2.8 million people focused on one brand. What’s more is that our messaging can be gender specific, making it even more relevant and memorable to the consumer.”


TLC has also signed Powerade in its Planet Fitness gym portfolio, a new advertiser to the health group’s 160 000 visitors per month, with messaging specifically targeted and relevant to health and fitness minded people. “To really ensure that Powerade’s brand sticks with gym-goers we’re carrying out activations right there on the gym floor, encouraging active engagement directly with the brand’s target market. As consumers, we’re much more likely to form an affinity with a brand that we’ve had a pleasant experience with,” says Greg. 

“ETV, Primeridian and Samsung are other long terms clients that swear by the platform,” says Greg. “We have the added benefit of a solid portfolio, blue chip brands that keep returning and a strong reputation in the industry as cost effective but providing high value on the ROI monitor.”

TLC’s offering includes standard A4 fames, light boxes, mirror decals, complete door wraps, mall walkway billboards and fitting room branding amongst others.

For more information on TLC offerings contact or visit

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Consumers proving to be the best brand ambassadors

More and more marketers and brand managers are realising that their best brand ambassadors are their very own consumers, but they seem unsure where to find them and subsequently, how to “on-board” them. Enter theSALT, specialists in influencer marketing, offering their clients positive brand conversations that originate from existing customers.

“A marketer’s existing customers are a brand’s most powerful asset. You can bet your house that if a consumer has a good experience with a brand they’re passionate about, they’re going to tell a lot of people about it – online and offline,” says Pieter Groenewald, Managing Director of theSALT.

“There is more value for marketers in gaining people who fall in love with a brand, compared to people just liking it. But the biggest barrier to entry that we see from marketers is that they find it challenging to build influencer marketing into their strategies when utilising their own resources due to the complexity of sourcing and managing a group of brand advocates.”

theSALT’s business model, as part of the Nfinity Group of companies, affords brands the opportunity to access their own loyal consumer base, which are then trained and managed from start to finish as influencers in brand campaigns.

Being part of the Nfinity Group has allowed theSALT access to a bigger network of expertise and infrastructure that has been invaluable and an enabler for the business to focus only on ‘making it happen’ for their clients. “Over the past few years, our business has grown exponentially,” says Pieter. “I believe that the market has really embraced influencer marketing and we’ve had the advantage of being around for a few years already, with a substantial database of on-the-ground influencers that are more than willing to share their brand experiences and testimonials amongst their own communities via word of mouth both on- and off-line.”

More and more brands are engaging with theSALT, allowing the business to open an additional office in Cape Town and even to start exploring international expansion.

But why not pay a local celebrity to endorse the brand? They have massive followers on social media after all.  Pieter says that there are a couple of differences worth noting: “while celebrities are selected based on the size of their audience as well as their niche (fashion, beauty, sport etc.), micro-influencers from theSALT are selected on the basis that they are an existing consumer and can speak about their “own” brand experience.  Don’t confuse reach and influence – depending on your strategy you can decide to use either or, or even both categories.”

He points out that celebrities are mostly limited to one-way communication online by broadcasting a brand message to their audience while micro-influencers can have two-conversations with their community. “It’s also important to note the difference between an audience and a community too – an audience is unknown to the celeb, where the community is a known audience to a micro-influencer,” he says.

“Possibly the largest difference of all though, is that actual word of mouth conversations in our daily environments is still the most powerful form of marketing – all research proves this. Our influencers on the ground are able to engage with real people face-to-face, in relevant environments and when they are most receptive to the messaging.  This element solves one of the biggest brand challenges: getting the message out there at the right time in the right environment thus shortening the path from awareness to purchase decisions.

Consumers and their word of mouth testimonials need to be part of the marketing mix, it’s that simple. The brands that are embracing this strategy are really reaping the rewards,” says Pieter.

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PAMS – a milestone in reading research realised

This week, a new milestone in reading currency research was reached when the PRC (Publisher Research Council) released the first PAMS (Publisher Audience Measure Survey) results that measure reading across multiple platforms.

“The main objective for the PRC was to achieve an accurate measurement of reading behaviour across multiple platforms to enable the buying and selling of advertising,” says Peter Langschmidt, consultant to the PRC. “We feel that this objective, to a large extent, has been achieved and we’re thrilled to present the findings of the very first PAMS to the industry.

The purpose of the launch in Johannesburg and Cape Town was to provide a broad overview of the study with some salient results and findings. We started with a clean sheet, and even the definition of ‘reading’ was relooked, with the question adapted to include the phrase ‘reading for one minute or longer’ across all platforms and devices, namely paper, cellphone, desktop/laptop and tablet.”

The survey made use of global best practices. A brand first approach was adopted, with respondents self-selecting titles, then measuring paper and online formats, or inserts. New visual frequency scale and multiple pick-ups were amongst many innovative changes. PAMS is the first reading study worldwide to use ‘flooding’. This allows for multiple interviews in the same household, resulting in 17 386 interviews conducted in 10 000 households.

The sample for PAMS was designed by Dr Ariane Neethling and achieved an astounding national coverage of 223 of the 224 municipalities. A disproportionate sample was used to up-weight areas of economic importance and population groups, achieving a weighting efficiency of 83%.

Although the survey’s data (including the paper measure) is not compatible with AMPS (All Media and Products Survey), the results are reasonably consistent with AMPS and some comparisons between the two surveys have been made.

Paper is still the dominant platform for reading at 82%. The top ten ranked daily newspapers reflect similar titles and readership between PAMS and AMPS with Daily Sun, Sowetan and Isolezwe taking the top three spots. Weekly newspapers display similar matches with Soccer Laduma, Sunday Times and Sunday Sun as the top three, albeit that they have changed places. Magazines also show a similar pattern with nine of the top twelve titles being the same in both studies.

The PRC also included two placebo (non-existent) titles namely The World and Tshepo. These were included to model over-claiming. As it happens, only six respondents claimed to have read Tshepo and 56 out of 17 386 (around 1 in 300 respondents), The World (The World claim being confused with World News online).  “This incredibly low level of claimed reading of fake titles validates the PAMS methodology and fieldwork,” comments Langschmidt.

In any research, it is important that no glaring inaccuracies are uncovered, and PAMS validates well against other large sample research, namely Statistics South Africa’s, Community Survey 2016.

“Like software, we refer to this as PAMS 1.0. While we have made great strides in terms of reducing RPC (readers per copy) with newspapers, there is still work to do in the magazine environment. Much of this relates to specific vs. average issue measurement which will be addressed using our upcoming online panel,” concludes Langschmidt.

“The validity and credibility of the data released is of the utmost importance to us as the PRC and vital for the industry at large. To ensure this, in close cooperation with our research partner, Nielsen, we are in the final stages of final validation of all data.

The release of data to the agencies and bureaus will take place once Nielsen and our members have concluded these final checks and validations.

PAMS goes back into the field next month – March 2018.”

For additional information and more in-depth data of titles, please make use of the PRC’s website or contact the PRC on 011 326 4041.

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PAMS – an innovative Reading currency, releases in February

A new milestone in reading currency research will be reached this month, February 2018, when the PRC (Publisher Research Council) releases the first PAMS (Publisher Audience Measure Survey) figures. The survey, conducted by Nielsen, has as its goal, accurate measurement of reading behaviour across multiple platforms.

 “This new readership research of over 150 titles and websites is set to become a major source for reading currency in South Africa.” says Peter Langschmidt, consultant to the PRC. “A global search of over 40 countries was used to determine current reading research best-practice. We combined these learnings and developed our own innovative world first methodologies to ensure that PAMS is among the ‘gold standard’ of Reader Audience Measurements world-wide.”

The launch of the research will take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town.



Date: 13 February 2018

Time: 15h45 for 16h00

Venue: Bryanston Country Club

Cape Town

Date: 14 February 2018

Time: 09h45 for 10h00

Venue: Kelvin Grove

The face-to-face interviews in 10 000 households were flooded to produce a sample of over 17 000 respondents and data includes cross platform reading on both paper and online.

Marketers and media planners will be glad to hear that buyer behaviour on some large categories and brands from the major Adspend categories have been included.

In designing the new reading currency, newspaper prompts have been regionalised, so as to limit respondent fatigue by excluding publications that are not sold in that area. The PRC has further addressed ‘respondent fatigue’ and resulting over-claiming by handing the tablet, containing the mastheads of the titles, to the respondent allowing them to select titles in complete privacy. Other changes and additions in the survey include ‘time spent reading’ for each publication, a new visual frequency scale based on actual publishing intervals trying to make it easier for respondents to recall their actual behaviour and also included the important category of leaflet/insert usage by readers.

“With increased time pressure on consumers, data fusion is becoming popular for media research globally. Single source, hour long studies are being rethought. The inclusion of some key brands make PAMS a perfect study to fuse with the Nielsen consumer panel and any other relevant studies,” concludes Langschmidt. “We look forward to sharing the new reading data with the industry and discussing how we will fuse PAMS with other studies later this year.”

If readers would like to attend any of the PAMS launches please email

Or phone: 011 326 4041 or 082 053 03872


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Get lucky as cupid strikes at Emerald!

It’s the most romantic day of the year, celebrated by millions of star struck lovers across the world. Pamper your better half this Valentine’s Day at Emerald Resort & Casino.

“Valentine’s Day is the one day in the year that conjures images of red roses, romance, elegance and style,” says Emerald Resort & Casino’s Marketing Executive Tanuja Gangabishun. “This year, we are offering couples many perfect moments that create memories for a lifetime.”

Whether it’s romantic getaways, an intimate lunch or just a day of spoils, Emerald Resort & Casino is the place to be on 14 February. High Stakes, the resort’s premier restaurant; family restaurant Breeze and the casino have all created the best treats to wow any star-struck lover. On the casino floor, enjoy the taste of strawberries on the lips after a shot of ‘Strawberry Lips’ liqueur; or enjoy, amongst many other options, a “Love Potion” milkshake at Breeze, a vanilla and berry infused gourmet milkshake topped with Cupid Sprinkles. You will also find ‘Cupid’s Arrow’, a perfect heart-shaped pizza, or indulge in a full romantic Valentine’s dinner at High Stakes, just for two.

“Extravagance, indulgence, pleasure, delight, pampering and treats are words that everyone at Emerald Resort & Casino are using to describe Valentine’s Day,” says Tanuja. “Why not turn the evening into a romantic getaway? When last have you and your partner been so spoiled?”

To view these and other Resort promotions, events and more, visitors to Emerald Resort & Casino are encouraged to stay close to the Resort’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or guests can visit for more information on any of the promotions mentioned here.

Emerald Resort & Casino is a licensed gambling venue. Winners know when to stop. Only persons over 18 are permitted to gamble. National Problem Gambling Counselling Toll Free Helpline 0800 006 008.

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000





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