The Sunday Times, South Africa’s largest and most influential weekly
newspaper, is launching a daily paper, The Times, at the beginning of
June, writes Adele Shevel in Business Times.

Ray Hartley, the deputy editor of the Sunday Times, will edit The Times. He said The Times would first be “accurate and fair, then smart, fun and playful. We’re not going to be laddish. We don’t want to offend the 52% women readers.”

The paper will focus on hard, breaking news, and will keep an eye on developing trends. It will be printed in tabloid format and consist of about 48 pages. However, its content will be quality mainstream journalism.

It will be delivered exclusively to Sunday Times subscribers in major metropolitan areas, making it one of the country’s biggest papers from its launch.

In a significant break with traditional newspapers, The Times will use a range of digital products — like a website, pod casts, cellphones and e-mail — to constantly interact with its readers. Readers’ comments, interaction with public figures — and even their pictures — will be an important part of the content of The Times and its digital products.

Hartley said a new, contemporary approach was necessary because many South Africans — especially younger people who do not read newspapers — consume media from sources other than print.

Of the Sunday Times’s 127 000 subscribers, 54% are online, 55% are African and 52% are women.

“Their interest is the Sunday Times, but they don’t want a great big newspaper every day,” said Hartley.

This week, the newspaper’s executives are setting off on a road show to present the new product to companies, marketers and advertising agencies.

Mike Robertson, the CEO of Johncom Media, said Sunday Times research showed that a large proportion of the newspaper’s 127 000 subscribers do not read a daily newspaper. This represented a significant gap in the market, which The Times is setting out to fill.

Robertson added that subscribers who do read daily newspapers do not trust them as much as they trust the Sunday Times.

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Sunday Times website. 

Click here to read Anton Harber's blog on the launch of the Sunday Times daily.