Circulation falls for Uganda newspapers in fourth quarter of 2019

Bukedde and New Vision had the highest circulation figures, although they had reduced from the previous quarter

The latest newspaper circulation figures are in, and they show that all Ugandan publications audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) posted declines in circulation in the last quarter of 2019.

Bukedde, the Luganda-language daily that is also Uganda’s most circulated newspaper according to ABC, had the biggest quarter on quarter decline. Its average circulation fell 11.1% to 33,289 print copies, reversing two consecutive quarters of growth. Compared to the same period in 2018, Bukedde’s circulation declined by 7.3%.

Circulation for the New Vision newspaper fell 5.1% to 23,636 copies in the final three months of 2019, compared with the previous quarter. It was also down 6.4% year on year. In the previous quarter, New Vision’s quarterly circulation had risen by 1.3%.

Sunday Vision, the weekend version of the New Vision, saw its circulation drop for the seventh straight quarter. Circulation in the quarter was down 3.4% to 14,096 copies, while yearly circulation declined by 11.2%.

Bukedde, the New Vision and the Sunday Vision are published by the New Vision Printing and Publishing Company Ltd (Vision Group), which is listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange. The government of Uganda owns a controlling stake in the company.

Related: Vision Group posts 2019/20 first-half rebound in profit on stronger advertising revenue

The Daily Monitor and its weekend version, Sunday Monitor, registered drops of 0.8% and 2.9%, respectively, in their circulation from the previous quarter. The titles are published by Monitor Publications Limited, a division of the Kenya-based Nation Media Group.

Daily Monitor’s circulation, at an average of 16,169 copies in the last three months of 2019, dropped for the fifth straight quarter. The silver lining, however, is that circulation has been reducing at a slower rate in each of the five quarters. Sunday Monitor’s circulation in the period was at 9,480 copies.

Chart showing circulation figures and trends for major Ugandan newspapers

Compared to the same period in 2018, circulation for the Daily Monitor and its Sunday version was down 4.6% and 11.3%, respectively.

Every quarter, the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa releases the average circulation figures for the print editions of member newspapers and magazines in 16 African countries. The numbers emphasise newspaper copies bought at more than 50% of the cover price, rather than those given out for free.

The audited circulation figures act to reassure advertisers seeking to buy and sell products in the publications. Publications with bigger audiences can charge more for advertising, with the rates going down in case circulation declines.