Fidelis Munyoro Chief Reporter
Zimpapers’ corporate decision-makers met in Harare last week to deliberate on strategies to increase growth of the group’s products and profitability. The two-day meeting gave attendees insights and understanding of policies, technologies and management of successful programmes. At the end of the meeting, attendees obtained actionable information to help them accelerate the development of best practices to help increase profitability and visibility of the group’s wide range of exciting products.
Zimpapers group public relations manager Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi-Ngondo confirmed to The Herald last Friday that top managers and editors drawn from the group’s subsidiaries deliberated on how they could increase the market share of their products and remain relevant.
“We deliberated on how we can remain relevant,” she said. “We had a very strong showing if you look at the results the company posted last year. Most of the group’s newspaper titles had accolades that kept on coming throughout the year under review.”
Zimpapers titles like The Herald, Chronicle and H-Metro, said Ms Tonhodzayi-Ngondo, made a strong showing in terms of readership.
“Even Zamps acknowledged them to be leading in terms of readership,” she said.
“Last year we were on an upward trajectory as Zimpapers. We want to remain at that level. So what we have been doing as a team was to brainstorm, share ideas, look at what needs to happen for the business to remain relevant and profitable. I can say with confidence that as Zimpapers we are geared for 2017,” she said.
Ms Tonhodzayi-Ngondo said the good profit margins the group recorded last year would spur it to continue on the growth path this year. She said Zimpapers was also excited about its new products like Diamond FM.
The Mutare-based radio station proved a strong contender in the broadcasting industry as it now commands a huge listenership barely a year after it hit the air-waves. “Diamond FM in the last Zamps results did well in terms of listenership given the fact that it has been operating barely a year, but is commanding such a huge listenership,” said Ms Tonhodzayi-Ngondo.
“We are also looking at how our titles such as The Herald, The Sunday Mail, etc, which have been there for years, can continue to make a strong showing in terms of readership.
“We can say, yes, news readership is on the decline but newspapers continue to remain relevant.”
Ms Tonhodzayi-Ngondo said the country was going towards elections hence Zimpapers should play its part to ensure people got their content and analysis from the media reports.
“In this case we see a space for Zimpapers to play its crucial role in that regard.”
Ms Tonhodzayi-Ngondo also said Zimpapers’ commercial printing department, Natprint, did well last year, as it shed the jacket of under-performer to turn around its fortunes.
Zimpapers Bulawayo branch, she said, was also making a turnaround in terms of profitability. This, she said, showed that people now believe that Zimpapers was in this business to stay.
The Zimpapers group is the oldest, largest and fastest growing media company in Zimbabwe with interests in newspapers, magazines, digital media, broadcasting and mobile platforms and is the biggest employer in the media.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company has been evolving its newspaper business model to incorporate multiple print and digital publishing products to reach new consumers and better satisfy the needs of a demanding media audience.