Small publishers hope to benefit from government ad spending

The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) recently said 168 community media outlets and small publishers will benefit from a new advertising plan. Photo: Bongani Mnguni

Small independent publishers hope that government makes good on its plans to boost advertising spending in community publications, as many small players in the industry are struggling to make ends meet.

Fezile Monke, chairperson of the Eastern Province Community Print Media, said government had for years been promising to plough cash into publications owned by small publishers, but nothing had come of that.

Monke’s organisation represents about 20 small publishers in the province. Monke said many had been forced to close shop in recent years due to economic constraints. Last year, only one government ad was placed in an independent publication in the Eastern Cape, he said.

“If they (government adverts) are coming in big numbers, at least they will have an impact,” Monke said. “We appreciate their initiative. We need more to sustain our publications.”

The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) recently said 168 outlets stand to benefit from the new advertising plan.

Six media advertising space buyers have been appointed to facilitate the government’s new advertising plan. Community Newspaper Initiatives, Eastern Province Community Print Media, Milele Grassroots Media Pty Ltd, Mpumalanga Community Newspaper Co-operatives Limited, Capro Pty Ltd, and Splendid Marketing and Communications were appointed to implement the plan.

The GCIS said appointing the panel of agencies was “a major step forward in transforming and diversifying government’s media communications mix”.

“Through the panel, GCIS will communicate with millions of South Africans on a daily basis to complement its existing media platforms, which include publications, a news media bureau, radio and television broadcasts, and community engagement through its extensive Izimbizo programme,” said Acting Director-General of the GCIS Donald Liphoko.

Government currently purchases advertising space on 89 community radio stations, which reach 6.5 million people daily and has to date spent R158 million on advertising in community media.

“Community media has the ability to inform public discourse which is imperative in strengthening our democracy and addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality as identified in the National Development Plan,” Liphoko said.

“Through paid advertising government helps to support and sustain the community media model, which in turn creates jobs and opportunities for respective communities.” 

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