A business media approach to Zimbabwe’s new times

Zimbabwe’s New Times Media is looking to take advantage of the country’s improving economy and the growing demand from companies to market themselves to a populace that has witnessed increased purchasing power on the back of the introduction of foreign currency as legal tender two years ago.

The company has applied for a licence to publish the Business Press magazine, which will be a monthly specialist business and investment publication. In addition to the planned printed magazine, the company will later this month also launch Financial Press, an online publication said to be similar to South Africa’s Moneyweb and Fin24.

“The main thrust of Business Press and Financial Press is to serve the business, financial, economic and investment sectors with publications that are specialist and which will carry informed commentary and analysis of trends in these areas,” says Memory Mataranyika, co-director of New Times Media.

She points out that Zimbabwe’s media sector has sidelined the business and financial aspects of their informative roles. “At the moment there is no serious specialist business media outlet and we intend to bridge this gap. We have a situation where everyone is just concentrating on politics, yet there is quite a lot that the media can offer in terms of coverage of investment, finance and business,” Mataranyika explains.

“Considering that Zimbabwe’s economy has been unstable over the past years, it is an opportunity that we have seen in that there is going to be increased appetite by both companies and the populace to do business, grow operations and increase capacity. There is therefore a need to keep the niche business market informed about these trends, about new products and services and also about the restoration of confidence in doing business in Zimbabwe by investors,” she says.

With the rapid transformation of the ICT sector that Zimbabwe has witnessed in the past year, Mataranyika reckons that her company’s online financial outlet will attract huge readership numbers and that these could then be useful in luring companies to advertise on the portal.

On how these publications will compete with the already established newspapers in Zimbabwe, Mataranyika says her company’s model is different from that of the other players. She also adds that most of the existing  publications produce inadequate business content.

“It is not a matter of if we will be able to match competition because we are not direct competitors and our model is different. But I would like to point out that even though the business content of some of the newspapers have been less impressive in recent times, companies still do advertise with them,” she notes.

Tawanda Karombo is How we made it in Africa’s Harare correspondent