Three Touchline Media execs resign over scandal

Three senior executives from Touchline Media, a subsidiary of Media24, have allegedly resigned over the circulation inflation saga which has resulted in the suspension of several of Media24’s titles from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

Touchline Media managing director and CEO Marc Blachowitz, financial director Steven Stein and another senior executive allegedly resigned on Thursday after apparently refusing to admit to their roles in the circulation irregularity scandal that has rocked the publishing group.

This involves seven of Media24’s women’s magazines – True Love Babe, InStyle SA, True Love, Lééf, Fairlady, SARIE and True Love Bride – which were found to have inflated their circulation figures by almost 100 percent in some cases.

The ABC has ordered an independent audit of all of Media24’s 60 magazines. The publishing group has refused to comment on any allegations regarding the saga saying it will communicate with the media only after the audit is complete.

Media agencies have been meeting Media24 representatives to discuss compensation. When it was discovered that Perskor had been inflating circulation figures in the early 1980s, advertisers received some R1.3-million in compensation for falsified circulations at that time according to www.mediamanager.co.za.

However, as yet, no one has discussed compensation for rival publishing houses which could have lost out on advertising revenue. When the Perskor circulation scandal came to a head in 1983, Naspers apparently wanted to sue Perskor for around R15-million to compensate for lost advertising revenue. A deal was reached, and Naspers instead ended up with sole control of Afrikaans newspapers in the Johannesburg and Pretoria morning markets. Industry insiders are speculating that some of the larger publishing houses might be considering taking legal action against Media24.

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Matebello Motloung
Guest Author

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