The trend is unchanged from the previous quarter; while Uganda’s two leading English-language dailies recorded drops in circulation, Bukedde – the Luganda daily published by Vision Group – sold more copies than in the previous period.
New Vision’s total circulation fell 3.3% to 26,945 copies in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 27,859 copies in the previous quarter, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Daily Monitor sold an average of 18,357 copies in Q4 versus 18,652 in Q3, a 1.6% drop.
Bukedde continued its resurgence, recording a 27.2% increase in total circulation to an average of 24,936 copies in Q4 from 19,608 in the previous quarter. A July 2015 increment in the tabloid’s cover price saw it lose its place as Uganda’s most popular newspaper – daily circulation in Q2 of 2015 was 39,413 – to New Vision. But that decision was reversed last September, and sales immediately recovered.
New Vision and Bukedde are published by New Vision Printing and Publishing Company Ltd (NVL), which is listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange.
The Sunday versions of the English newspapers suffered a similar fate as the weeklies. Sunday Vision recorded the bigger drop, 6.1%, to 17,435 copies from 18,571 in the previous quarter; this is after registering an increase in Q3. Sunday Monitor’s circulation dropped 2.3% to 11,871 from 12,150 copies in Q3.
One possible explanation for the drop in circulation during the quarter is the festive season, which comes with muted activity in the corporate sector.
Still, it was a good season to sell newspapers. The many questions surrounding Crane Bank and the banking sector, as well as the economy, had many people looking for accurate and authoritative reporting – and where better to turn to than the major English papers?
The slight decline in Daily Monitor’s circulation also shows that two measures taken to increase sales are yet to be felt. It entered into a partnership with Jumia Food to vend newspapers on the food ordering website and app, and also delayed publication of major stories on its website.
But, like we noted last time, New Vision adopted a similar strategy for its website before Monitor yet it still records declines in circulation.