An enquiry into the competition structure in the South African newspaper industry
Coertzen, André Bernard
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The South African newspaper industry has not changed much over the past fifteen years since democracy. Although the government has with very good intentions declared that the media, and especially the print media, should be accessible to all the people of the country, it has not materialised and most of the media is still focused on one or the other group of the population only. The government also involved the big media companies, when they implemented the Media, Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), in an attempt to try to communicate with all the people of the country, especially people in the rural areas, via print media and community radio. This meant that the big role players, together with government, contributed financially to a fund, from which the grassroots newspapers and community radio stations would be funded and developed. It was a good idea that has since lost most of the initial mission and vision through bad management, but mostly because the MDDA became a politicised agency. The future of the independent media is still in the balance because of other factors in the market. These factors include the total control that the bigger media companies have over the associations, forums, printing and other bodies that control or has an input in the running of the media in South Africa. The study that was undertaken had the primary objective of establishing an understanding of the newspaper industry in South Africa, by analysing and identifying the type of industry market structure it has taken on. The study also has the secondary objectives to identify the role players in the South African newspaper industry and the influence and control they have,in the market. The survey also aims to identify some problems and challenges facing the independent newspaper industry in South Africa and to provide recommendations on how to improve the problems that the independently owned newspapers face in the market. A study of this kind has never been done in South Africa and it therefore made it imperative, that most of the information that was used was obtained via self initiated questionnaires, interviews and investigations. A literature study was done to give the necessary background on market structures and their different characteristics in analysing the South African media industry. An analysis study was done using the internet, journals, articles and other material that were available, to obtain the necessary information regarding the current structures and role players in the South African newspaper industry. This study will show that nothing much has changed in the media structures in South Africa over the past fifteen years. This study can also be used by people to do further investigation into certain areas of the media.