In an economy and at a time when magazine publishers dread the next Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) updates and with comments abound regarding the freefall of the South African magazine category as a whole, Caxton Magazines’ monthly family interest magazine, Bona, clearly bucks the trend and stands out like a beacon of light amongst the carnage.
In the February release of the ABCs Quarter 4 October to December 2018, Bona effectively increased circulation by a massive 13% versus Q4 2017 and by 7% on Q3 Jul-Sep 2018. These are some amazing growth figures when the total magazine circulation declined by 8.4% on the previous quarter, and by 19.7% year-on-year. Consumer Magazines in total decreased by 3.8% in the previous quarter while the category declined by 12.4% year-on-year.
“Bona is soaring and the ABCs prove it!” states Bona’s editor Bongiwe Tshiqi. “In fact, Bona has one of the highest circulations in the Caxton Magazine group and some of the best statistics and circulations in the Female and Family magazine categories.”
She attributes the success of the 63-year-old brand to a few factors. Most notable is the engagement and interaction between the brand and its readers, the relevance of the content and a fundamental understanding of its reader. She also adds that this due to the fact that BONA is the only magazine in the country that publishes in four different languages. – English, Zulu, Sotho and Xhosa, also plays a huge role.
“It’s imperative for me that we constantly stick by our brand promise; ‘“Be who you want to be” which celebrates the differences in SA women rather than try to confine them to one idea of beauty and success.”
The typical Bona reader is a mom between the age of 25 and 49 with two kids at home. She is family orientated and focussed, has a full-time job, is upwardly mobile, likes stability and hasn’t moved house or changed jobs in the last year. As such the magazine provides her with tips and education around her life, inspirational and aspiration content that addresses her modern concerns. For example, the magazine explores heathy options and self-nurturing tips, helping her to look after herself. It is relaxing light reading and most of all provides her with hope and assurance that she is doing an amazing job as wife, mother and go-getter.
Another aspect that has assisted with Bona’s growth is the understanding that advertising within the magazine plays a large role. The Bona editorial team is open to new ideas and works closely with the sales team. “There have been some amazing and innovative advertising campaigns that has come from this close cooperation,” says Bongiwe.
Anton Botes, General Manager of Caxton Magazines comments, “We have, over the past year or so, really come to understand our readers through research, discussion panel responses and feedback and this has impacted directly on the type of content published in the magazine and online.”
“We’re extremely proud that we are one of the biggest female interest magazines in the country that provides our readers with what they want to read,” concludes Bongiwe. “We really look forward to growing our audience base even more in 2019.”
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