All is not well at Uganda’s leading daily, the New Vision. Reports indicate, Robert Kabushenga recently fired four senior distribution managers over dwindling copy sales and conflict of interest.
While Bukedde copy sales have improved in the past one year, which has seen the paper regain its status as the country’s leading newspaper by copy sales, New Vision has seen her sales drop over the same period.
The affected staff are: senior Circulation Manager- Joseph Lwanga, a one Perezi, Isabirye while the fourth senior manager was sent on forced leave pending investigations.
According to market intelligence reports and Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) report, New Vision has suffered drop-in copy sales something that keeps Robert Kabushenga wide-awake at night.
According to the latest ABC reports, New Vision copy sales fell from an average of 32,000 copies at the end of 2016 to 29,200 copies as of March 2017, before dropping further to 26,000 copies. A drop of over 5,000 copies in less than nine months.
Sources at New Vision told Newz Post that New Vision print copies sometimes drop to as low as 23,000. New Vision Weekend papers have been worst hit, as Ugandans spend more time relaxing, with their families, studying, at their farms with no time for newspapers.
Bukedde on the other hand has registered a jump in copy sales over the same period. According to ABC reports, Bukedde sales increased from 29,757 copies in March 2017 to 34,883 copies as of August 2017, an increase of 5,126 copies. Market intelligence reports indicate, Bukedde is now closing in on to 40,000 copies.
Over the same period, Daily monitor registered some copies. March 2017, Daily Monitor was selling an average of 18,000 copies. The sales have since increased to average to an 18,880 as of August 2017, an increase of 803 copies.
The Observer Newspaper on the other hand can best be described as surviving. The paper’s copy sales have dropped from 3,500 to an average of 2,000 copies. Print copies have since dropped from an average of 6,000 last year to 4,000/ 4500 as of August 2017.
This is the paper that used to sell 20,000 copies five years ago. The paper faces a host of problems that threaten to bring it down. The once mighty paper has lost key staff over the years [ without replacing them] something that has costed the paper. The latest to leave, is the seasoned Editor, -Richard Kavuma credited for turning around the paper. Today, the paper survives largely from handouts from donors, otherwise revenues from adverts and copy sales have dropped significantly.
Meanwhile, New Vision version of the hard copy-the E-Paper has failed to attract readers/ subscribers. This forced management to reduce the price from Ugx. 2,000 to Ugx. 1000. Industry analysts say, there are a couple of challenges holding back the paper. For example, one needs data worth Ugx. 6000 to read the paper- pushing the total cost of the paper to Ugx. 7,000/ 8,000. Besides, subscribers complain that they cannot access the paper the next day.