Digibate: The Future of Print Media


Aegis Media, in conjunction with BizCommunity, hosted the fourth Thought Leadership Digibate which discussed and debated the current state and future of print media in South Africa. The Digibate was audio streamed live on BizRadio and the event took place at The Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa.  Below, you  are able to listen back and download podcasts of this Digibate, also a list of all key insights.


Dawn Rowlands, CEO of Aegis media South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa  has over 20 years of experience in the media industry and has most notably been a shareholder founding partner of NotaBene  and is the founder of Posterscope SA.


Vanessa Raphaely – Associated Magazines. Vanessa is currently the Editorial Director at Associated Magazines. She began her career on Fleet Street in the UK. She returned to South Africa to help both her family business and the country. She has her own popular blog; www.hurricanevanessa.com


Danette Breitenbach – Editor – Advantage Magazine – (via Skype).  Danette Breitenbach is editor of Advantage Magazine. She has worked previously for The Sunday Times, CSIR Mining Division, Primedia Publishing as well as being a freelance writer for various publications.


Karen Phelan – Managing Director, Full Circle Media. Karen has 23 years of experience in the industry. She is Media director and co-founder of Full Circle Media. Karen began her career at Republican Press, moved on to the Interconinteal Tobacco Company.  She was one of the founding partners of Full Circle Media in 2000


Raymond Joseph – Media specialist. A colossus in the South African Media, Raymond has been actively involved in Journalism since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. He had various positions at the Sunday times in the 80’s and 90’s. He is the founding member of the Big Issue in South Africa. Raymond still oversees the management of the Big Issue as well as owning his own company (Southern Tip Media). He maintains high positions in the Southern African Freelancers Association as well as the Professional Journalism Association.

Nic  van den Bergh, Trading Director, Aegis Media. Currently the Trading Director at Aegis Media, Nic has been involved in the industry for over 13 years. He is the Co-founder of Thunda.com. He has also worked for 24.com, before going to work for Isobar.



Podcast 1: Current state of print media in SA | Click HERE to listen

  • Last year we saw dramatic and quick changes in print advertising spend
  • Looking holistically – those who invested well into digital are in a better position today
  • We need to start using print in a different way
  • Large movement in brand extension beyond print
  • Stop looking from a print point of view – look at a brand point of view and decide where you want your brand to go.
  • Stop depending on paper – focus on content, invest in the relationship with your audience
  • Don’t drive with your eyes in the rearview mirror – you will crash and burn
  • Denial is prevalent
  • Understand your audience
  • Big ad spend shift from print to TV as its more cost effective
  • Sales staff who are pushing brands are not being equipped properly to sell the brand

What is the future of journalism?

  • Journalism – will survive –without journalists there is no content – it will be a wasteland of poor quality content
  • The days of specialized journalists are gone – we have to be universal/digital journalists – we have to be able to do it all.
  • Many print publishers just don’t get it – they still think they are printers and they need to realize they are not. The product is now CONTENT and  has to be executed on multiple platforms
  • Readers are still there – they are just more  discerning about  what they read

Will people pay for content?

  • Yes. A good example is Red Bull – they sell drinks – but their content via multiple platforms are superb and engaging.
  • Realize you are in the brand game and content is key
  • It’s no longer about how to manage your content – you should have been doing this already – give your audience what they want/need – not what you think they way.
  • Find out what drives the consumer and package your offering to them

Are publishers investing in their own brand?

  • Traditionally in SA – NO – many are still stuck in the dark ages

Journalism – where is the future?

  • Our industry is about news and content – not print!
  • There will always be a need for good content
  • Don’t dump your print on line rather build multiple platforms and audiences and  then figure out how to make money from it, but build the platform first
  • Paying for content is not the only way – it’s about brand integration into your content
  • Newspapers will end up as part of the content offering
  • “Twitter has kicked us all in the bum”
  • “Listen to the kids – they know stuff we don’t know and they will teach us what/where we need to go”

Future of niche publications – how are they transforming?

  • Technology touches us all and it’s key to remember that we are part of a developing world and not a developed world – in Africa and India print is still growing and we need to remember the huge potential that the mobile phone offers for content.
  • We see Advantage Magazine as a brand and we extend across many platforms and really engage with our clients and audiences – it’s about relationships and working together


Podcast 2: Business opportunities and the future | Click HERE to listen

  • Mobile opportunities in Africa are enormous
  • Social media conversations are affecting brands
  • Clients are measuring the market directly by sales
  • See consumers as communities and not commodities
  • Craft and create products that people can be part of
  • Create intimacy and engagement
  • Advertising sales staff need to understand your business and how it integrates into the community you are talking to
  • The trend happening right now is that more money is being spent via integrated platforms than traditional print
  • If your are still relying on circulation and ad revenue you are going to be in trouble
  • Your platforms must integrate into each other – print can no longer be your core product
  • Publishers need to spend more time sharing key learning’s with each other – these Digibates are invaluable to the industry!
  • If you are not on mobi you are going to be dead in the water
  • Choose the right partners when executing your multi-platform integration
  • Start experimenting and stop hesitating
  • Get over yourself – stop hiding in the corner and complaining and get integrated
  • If you can’t innovate – get used to earning less!


Podcast 3: Providing relevant content | Click HERE to listen

  • Don’t repurpose – present the content differently
  • Twitter is the most powerful content tool for news
  • Africa is burgeoning in print i.e. Seri Leone has more than 40 newspapers – but it’s all integrated via many platforms why is SA lagging behind?
  • We are at the MOMENT of the future in Africa in terms of content – grab it and run with it!
  • It takes 45 minutes for a story to get out in the public arena
  • Print begins the conversation and it continues online and then should go back into print – but the newspapers in SA don’t get that yet
  • Print no longer rules the roost – people have their own voices and are being heard via the many multi-media platforms
  • Do not confuse citizen journalism with professional journalism – half the stuff out there is either not true or only half true – professional journalists still bring you the full story
  • Remember that people rely on their friends for information first before looking at traditional print media.
  • Pay walls do not work!


Podcast 4: Making money from content | Click HERE to listen

  • Create the right environment for people to come and engage – same rules apply to advertising
  • Link your content directly to the brand
  • Mobile is a great revenue builder
  • Understand your market and make it easy for them to transact with you
  • Look ahead instead of backwards – learn from others mistakes
  • See problem solving as an advantage to learn and move forward
  • Cover prices are not indicative of the market
  • Create events around your product that are revenue spinners
  • Bulk deals are of interest to your audience, so offer them!
  • Work in partnership with other brands to offer the audience what they want
  • Stop the hysteria and focus on your audience
  • Be authentic and honest in your offering and connect on an emotional level
  • Stop selling paper or space – encourage the experience first


Podcast 5: Be authentic in your offering | Click HERE to listen

  • Acknowledge and always thank your audience
  • Keep your messages truthful
  • Package your offering expressively and with integrity
  • Be aware of the consumer protection act and honor your audience
  • Invest in your own brand before you try chase your consumer
  • Be clear on your intentions
  • Face the industry challenges – don’t try hide from them
  • Have a number of key revenue streams
  • Keep your eye on the youth market – they are your future
  • Get real and fire yourself before you burry yourself and hire new talent


Podcast 6: Final thoughts on the future of print media in SA | Click HERE to listen

Danette Breitenbach – “We in media need to be on top of things, keep abreast with trends, enhance them, build on them and do not forget the power of content via mobile. Print will always be there, but it’s time to adapt and adopt.

Karen Phelan – “Publishers need to engage directly with agencies and get all sales staff trained on how their own brand operates first, and only then can they realize how content and brands are relevant as opposed to just trying to sell space for the sake of sales.

Nick van den Bergh – “We all have a job to do, so let’s get on and do it “

Raymond Joseph – “Adapt or die”

Vanessa Raphaely – “Print is about paper and we are about content”

Dawn Rowlands – “Know and understand your audience needs and give them what they want and not what you want”

About eBizRadio

eBizRadio is a live multi- platformed social media service providing an online forum to the business community for holding conversations on the key issues related to specific businesses as well as availing a space for cross-business collaboration in response to key issues affecting the world of business. The place to go if you want to know about business and lifestyle
Don't be shellfish...Share on Reddit
0Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook
0Email this to someone
Share on LinkedIn


    eBizRadio is a live multi- platformed social media service providing an online forum to the business community for holding conversations on the key issues related to specific businesses as well as availing a space for cross-business collaboration in response to key issues affecting the world of business. The place to go if you want to know about business and lifestyle

    scroll to top


    Please enter the correct answer: *

    Register | Lost your password?