March 23, 2010 – Their piece of the advertising pie was not enough to keep East Africa Magazines afloat, forcing them to shut their doors on Monday.
The editors were the first to receive the bad news, and the chain of communication trickled down to the journalists in a brief meeting on Monday morning.
General Manager Kobus Louwrens is said to have blamed the exit on ‘lower revenues and rising operational costs’.
Louwrens pointed out that when most of the company’s investments had just started paying off, Kenya was hit by the post election violence, which greatly diminished these gains and ‘set them (EAM) back significantly’.
“Recovery was very slow,” he added, “also because of the Great Recession and drought that eroded business confidence and spending power.”
The GM says that the future for the magazine didn’t look too rosy either, due to the change in the company’s strategic landscape, a limited economic outlook for the market, and a possible risk posed by the coming election.
The company is expected to pay its workers in lieu of notice, and is now finalising payments to other contracted workers such as hair stylists and make-up artists; some of whom had done work that had been slotted for the May issues of True Love, Drum and Move magazines.
The three magazines were the last men standing of the former larger gang of publications, which included Adam magazine and Twende.
The 45 former staff members are now looking for work elsewhere.
The online version of Drum had already begun winding down from last week, says the Magazine’s Deputy Editor Clay Muganda.
Another journalist adds: “we were told there’s no money. I blame in part, the South African management. They tried to treat the Kenyan market as they did the SA one and that would not have worked. There are several other factors. But its unfortunate.”
EAM was owned by SA Magazine industry giant Media 24 Magazines, who claim more that 60 titles across Africa.
Other African countries where it operates include Nigeria, Uganda and Angola, where operations have not been affected.
So there you have it…