of the death of the late and iconic former president, Nelson Mandela and the murder trial of paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, according to a report by auditing firm PwC.

“These high-profile news stories…resulted in a spike in total newspaper circulation in the fourth quarter of 2013,” news agency, Sapa, quoted a PwC report as saying.

“Consumers chose print newspapers as a key source of information and reflection,” Sapa added.

South Africa’s newspaper businesses have been under pressure in recent years. Of the big four newspaper publishers, the one that was hit hard has been the Independent News Media (INM), the biggest newspaper group which was recently sold to a businessman with links to the ruling party ANC.

The company has had high-profile resignations in recent months amid claims that the owner, Iqbal Surve, interferes with editorial independence.

Its former owner, Tony O’Reilly, the Irish businessman, is known for investing very little in the group, putting a halt to any hires of senior reporters and taking the money out of the country to fund his other struggling newspaper operations in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

The PwC report showed that South Africa’s overall newspaper publishing market increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2 percent last year.

It generated almost R11 billion ($995 million) in revenue. This was a surge from R10.3 billion ($931 million) in 2012, according to the report.
Most of the growth was driven by advertising, which soared to R8.2 billion ($741.6 million) last year from R7.7 billion ($696.3 million) in 2012. Print represented almost 98 percent of the total, Sapa reported.

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