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Mmegi retrenches

MONKAGEDI GAOTHOBOGWE
Mbuya
The restructuring exercise that is taking place at Dikgang Publishing Company, the publishers of The Monitor and Mmegi, has resulted in over 30 jobs being shed

The Company employs just over 120 people. The lay-offs took place across all departments including the printing factory.

The restructuring exercise was announced in September. Speaking on Friday, the Managing Director of Dikgang Publishing Company, Titus Mbuya, said the exercise was carried out as part of the company’s effort to align the cost structure to its capacity to generate income optimally.

He said trading conditions over the last few years have been depressed, leading to stagnating revenues at best and declining income at worst. Mbuya said while the proliferation of newspapers in the country is a good thing for the consumer of news, it is also adversely affecting the financial performance of the existing newspapers. This is particularly so, he said, because advertising spend has not increased over the last few years since the global economic meltdown. 

Mbuya said newspaper sales were also negatively affected by the advent of new media such as the social media. This is the trend worldwide, but it is even worse in the local market where newspaper sales have always been relatively low. Nowadays, many people, especially the youth, read their news on the smart-phone, tablet or computer.

He said newspapers are also competing with the electronic media which operates on a 24-

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hour news cycle. Nowadays news breaks live on television and radio, which means that newspapers are always playing catch-up on such stories. He said all these developments have an impact on the appropriateness and allocation of a newspapers’ human resources and other assets.

Mbuya explained that his company’s main challenge following the retrenchments is to ensure that The Monitor and Mmegi remain leading titles in the market. He said going forward the company has decided to strengthen the core business, which is, news gathering and writing with the view to focussing on the information needs of the reader. He said Mmegi and The Monitor are where they are today because of the quality of their content and an efficient distribution network around the country.

Mbuya said Dikgang Publishing Company has to adapt to the realities of the Information Age which is driven by technology. He said technology is changing the whole process of putting together a newspaper, all the way from writing a story through production to printing and distribution. He said the downside of this is that as technology becomes ubiquitous some jobs in the process become redundant resulting in job cuts, and this is the dilemma that traditional media are facing.



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