The Media landscape in South Africa, and indeed across the world, has been steadily changing over the past few years for print publications. Digital platforms and social media have led to a steady decline in advertising revenue. Lasting and permanent change has now been forced by COVID-19 and many media houses have had to seriously rethink their structures. We have seen a number of local media houses taking the decision to close their magazine division. Many of these magazines are household names that have been around for decades.
The negative impact of the recent Covid-19 lockdown on general economic activity and, as a consequence, on the ability of these businesses to trade normally in what were already difficult trading conditions for magazine publishers, has made this decision unavoidable.
We appreciate that Lockdown has also had a negative impact on many of your own businesses and has given us all pause to stop and think about the best way forward. Certainly Automobil has been part of our RMI legacy and is the one thing that you our valued members have always loved and looked forward to. At the beginning of this year we took the decision to limit our editions to six per year.
We feel very strongly that there will always be a place for a trade publication like Automobil that reaches a very niche target audience. Our contract with Future Publishing came to a close at the end of July and we have been looking at various different options to retain our magazine. As you saw, for the first time in our history our June/July issue was published as a digital magazine only. A new era is definitely dawning in the media and it is up to us who are left to shape it.
We are far down the line in discussions with a number of new publishing partners to find the best solution for everyone moving forward. We will be in a position to announce our new publishing partner and plans by the end of this month.
We are excited to look at new and different ways of adding value to our members, to their customers and to our advertisers.
We look forward to communicating further with you and thank you for your continued support of Automobil.