South Africa: magazines breaking language barrier in title wars

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Jun 22 14:43:07 UTC 2006

Mags breaking language barrier in title wars

By Karen Breytenbach

The publishers of two of South Africa's top travel magazines have put
their boxing gloves back on by each launching an alternative language
version of their original titles. While media giant Media24 launched go!,
modelled on its Afrikaans title Weg!, Getaway, now owned by family
business Ramsay Son & Parker (RSP), had its Afrikaans title, Wegbreek, hit
the shelves on Tuesday. Also, Getaway is bigger and more glossy following
its appointment of a new art director.

'Getaway... will make the opposition look old-fashioned' Getaway editor
David Bristow said: "July's Getaway... will make the opposition look
old-fashioned." Media24's publication has won a number of prizes since its
launch two years ago. Media24 printed and distributed Getaway for 17 years
until two months ago, when it was bought by rival media giant Caxton.
Getaway and Wegbreek are now printed and distributed by Caxton CTP RNA
Distributors. The arch-rivalry began in 2004 when Media24 launched
Wegbreek and RSP took it to court for infringing on its established

The Cape High Court ruled that the title was a direct translation of
Getaway that could mislead readers. In April last year, Media24 changed
the title of its magazine and website to Weg! and began planning the
launch of go! When RSP announced the launch of Wegbreek two weeks ago,
Media24 sought an urgent interdict to prevent the use of the title, but
the court refused this. Gerrit Rautenbach is the editor of Wegbreek and
Andrea Weiss, former senior Cape Argus writer and former UCT spokesperson,
the editor of go! Bun Booyens, editor-in-chief of go! and Weg!, said
features that distinguished go! included the promotion of fairly
inexpensive destinations, the focus on readers and their stories, and a
strict policy of objectivity, with the publication paying for trips its
writers covered.

"Where this is not possible we will tell our readers so they may form
their own opinions," said Weiss. Bristow said a "monopolistic" Media24 was
after the largest piece of the advertising pie, which Getaway had enjoyed.
"We've got our gloves on and we're feeling bullish. We've lost 50 percent
of our Afrikaans readers, but we believe we can regain them and grow."
Getaway focused on discerning high-income readers.

"We don't mind losing the caravanners," Bristow joked.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Times on June
20, 2006 Published on the Web by IOL on 2006-06-20 01:33:00

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