Government spends R10 million on The New Age advertising

A reply to a parliamentary question has revealed that the Department of Communications spent over R10 million on advertising in The New Age this past financial year.

The DA, which put the question to the department, said the amount was “skewed” compared to what was spent on other local newspapers.

“This accounts for 11.2% of government adspend across 248 publications. A comparison with the biggest newspapers shows just how skewed government adspend is towards the Gupta-owned newspaper, despite its low readership,” said the DA.

According to the parliamentary reply and AMPS research quoted by the DA, the department spent the following on advertising in local newspapers in the 2013-2014 financial year.

Publication Redearship Adspend
The New Age 153,000 R10,199,988
Sowetan 1,674,000 R10,434,476
Daily Sun 5,351,000 R7,888,753
Isolezwe 1,176,000 R1,246,257

Further compared to publications with similar readerships, The New Age received a disproportionately high chunk of the department’s advertising budget, said the DA.

“[This] underscores just how much of an ‘outlier’ the newspaper is in terms of government adspend.”

Publication Redearship Adspend
The New Age 153,000 R10,199,988
Pretoria News 125,000 R868,994
The Herald 196,000 R534,306
The Mercury 180,000 R509,298

“There can be no rational explanation for government spending R10,2 million on advertisements in a newspaper with 153,000 readers, but just half a million rand on a newspaper with 180 000 readers,” said the DA.

“The only explanation for the disproportionate adspend on The New Age is that it is owned by the politically-connected Gupta family, and because its editorial stance is unashamedly pro-Zuma.”

The New Age has previously come under scrutiny for what it makes off its business breakfasts, as well as subscription deals with Prasa and adspend by Telkom.

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Government spends R10 million on The New Age advertising