Outdoor magazine toutrek
Measured by the South African Advertising Research Foundation’s readership figures, Getaway magazine is the biggest title in the outdoor travel niche with a 480 000 All Media Product Services reading. But, measured by circulation, Weg — Naspers’s Afrikaans imitator — has just under 100 000 sales, beating Getaway by more than 15 000.
Getaway publisher Stirling Kotze says he has learned the following: “Publish in Afrikaans for circulation sales and publish in English for readership and for advertisers.”
The number of Afrikaans readers Getaway lost to Naspers’s Weg came as a shock to the title’s owner, Ramsay Son and Parker (RS&P), which has launched Wegbreek in a bid to win them back.
Naspers, in turn, has launched Go!, an English sister edition to Wegbreek aimed as a direct competitor to Getaway.
The battle for Wegbreek has been fought in the courts as much as on newsstand shelves. RS&P has, so far, won two legal rounds against Naspers.
Naspers called the first six issues of its title Wegbreek — a direct translation of Getaway. RS&P’s accusations of trademark infringement and passing off against Naspers were settled out of court, with Naspers agreeing to change the disputed masthead to Weg.
Last week, the Cape High Court refused Naspers’s application to bar RS&P from calling Getaway‘s Afrikaans sister Wegbreek. Naspers has threatened to appeal.
“So far we have not been advised of an appeal. It seems unlikely given the unequivocal nature of the judge’s 39-page ruling,” says Kotze.
Naspers’s Media24 Magazines CE, Patricia Scholtemeyer, says the group has until July 13 to decide on whether to apply for leave to appeal. Its lawyers are studying the judgement.
Bigger media groups have attempted to muscle into Getaway‘s niche before with little success. Anyone remember Johncom’s Out There magazine? But leaving its Afrikaans flank undefended seems to have been a huge tactical blunder by RS&P.
“Yes, Weg did take away many sales from Getaway because of our high Afrikaans readership. We expect to win many of these readers back with Wegbreek,” says Kotze.
Whatever Naspers has gained with its “me too” strategy of imitating the titles of a more imaginative, independent magazine group, it has probably lost by handing the contract to print and distribute RS&P’s titles to Caxton.
Naspers printed and distributed Getaway for 17 years. By competing against its customer, it may have forced RS&P into the arms of Caxton, which bought 30% of the magazine group in January.
Ramsay Son & Parker publishes Getaway, Naspers publishes Go!.
Ramsay Son & Parker publishes Wegbreek, Naspers publishes Weg.