The daily circulation of NewsDay averaged above 50 000 copies for the month of August while sales for the month averaged 43 170 as the paper has continued to consolidate its position in the market, audit firm Baker Tilly Gwatidzo has confirmed.
The announcement of the audited figures follows a pledge by Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) — the publishers of NewsDay — to make available credible circulation data in the market.
This followed the group’s angst with the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (Zamps), whose findings no longer bore any resemblance to the realities on the ground.
The publication of the figures is in line with best international practice like the South African Audit Bureau of Circulation.
AMH Chairman Trevor Ncube yesterday announced the group’s formal withdrawal from Zamps.
The audit report, the first of its kind in the market, confirms the rise in NewsDay circulation.
“We confirm that based on our audit, during the month of August 2011, the average daily production of NewsDay for the month of August was 50 564 copies whereas the average daily sales was 43 170 copies,” said Baker Tilly Gwatidzo CEO Phibion Gwatidzo in a statement.
In May, Ncube promised to rectify the anomalous situation created by Zamps by commissioning a firm of auditors to assess and certify NewsDay circulation numbers.
“Since June, Baker Tilly Gwatidzo have been auditing our print runs, sales and returns and we happily share the audit results with the public today,” said Ncube. “We challenge all players in the industry to produce audited figures for the benefit of the readers and advertisers.”
He said AMH had also gone a step further by commissioning Probe Market Research who have undertaken a readership survey and “the results stand in sharp contrast with what has been produced by the Zamps Survey”.
“For a long time now we have been unhappy with the quality and credibility of the Zamps Survey and the results released yesterday have fully vindicated our misgivings. The Zamps figures are a sham and bare absolutely no resemblance to reality.
“We at AMH cannot continue to be associated with the Zamps Survey. We are thus pulling out from this body with immediate effect.”
He said AMH would instead focus on investing in credible reader research on a regular basis for the benefit of all its stakeholders.
“We will continue with regular circulation audits,” said Ncube. “For the collective integrity and reputation of the industry, we urge an industry approach to audited circulation for it is the only way of having industry-wide verifiable trends.”
The audit by Baker Tilly Gwatidzo reveals that 1 314 672 copies of NewsDay were printed in August and 85,4% — constituting 1 122 432 copies — of the monthly print run was sold. Returned copies constituted 14,6%.
Peak print run for the month stood at 55 410 on August 24 while the highest sale for the month was 51 158 on the same day.