Media24 posts strong ecommerce and digital media growth

29 November 2017

Media24’s digital media and ecommerce businesses recorded further strong growth in the six months to September 2017, the company said in its half-year financial results announced on Wednesday.

Digital media revenue increased by 33% and efashion store Spree grew revenue by 48% year on year. The company’s mature portfolio – print media, book publishing and distribution – increased its trading profit by 60% to R85m compared to the same period last year.

“We are very pleased with the double-digit growth of our digital and ecommerce divisions as these are the future of Media24,” said CEO Esmaré Weideman. “But for me the surprise of the past six months was the excellent performance of our mature portfolio – the result of continued cost savings, better than expected print advertising revenue and strong book orders in South Africa and Botswana.”

Key achievements by Media24’s publishing units included:

  • Digital publisher, which includes popular news sites such as News24, Fin24, W24, Channel24 and HuffPost SA, grew its average daily users by 13% year on year and now has 17m monthly active users. Page views increased by 11% to 13m per day over the same period.
  • News24 strengthened its leadership position among South African publishers and now commands a market share of 47%. News24 Edge, the personalised version of News24, was named joint best mobile news app in the world by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.
  • Netwerk24, already the largest subscription news destination in the country, grew its subscribers by 27%.
  • Free Afrikaans news app NetNuus recorded excellent growth and now has some 87 000 monthly users.
  • New aggregator apps DailyKick and Sliced showed encouraging growth in active installs and user numbers while Bounce became the top news app in Nigeria only six months after it was launched.
  • Despite an overall decline in revenue, print media operations exceeded expectations thanks to an uplift in retail advertising. The News division’s advertising sales team, Ads24, was named best newspaper advertising sales team in South Africa at the MOST Awards. Media24 increased its advertising market share for newspapers and magazines and maintained its market leadership in print circulation.
  • School book publishers Via Afrika and Collegium received healthy textbook orders while tertiary publisher Van Schaik benefited from its strong publishing programme.

Spree, the largest online fashion destination in South Africa, had another excellent six months. Highlights included:

  • Orders grew by 48% and visits by 35% year on year.
  • Among many innovations, it introduced image search functionality in its app whereby users can upload images and find similar items for sale on Spree. For this, and its excellent user experience, Spree won a digital innovator award at Africa’s Customer Experience Awards.

Media24 (excluding Novus) revenue declined by 5% to R2,3bn for the period, largely as a result of continued declines in print advertising and circulation revenue. The company’s trading loss increased by 10% to R157m, partly as a result of continued investment in its growth businesses.

“We continue to drive deep investments in digital media and ecommerce to ensure Media24’s sustainable future,” Weideman said. “Over the past few months we invested further in engineering capacity and data analytics to ensure a better user experience through personalised content feeds and to assist advertisers in reaching their target audiences more effectively through our digital platforms.”

Read the full results announcement for the six months ended 30 September here.

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