4x4, Buyers' advice, Motoring News, Vehicle sales

Leisure Wheels joins stampede from waiting rooms

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Leisure Wheels magazine has joined the migration from time-honoured, full-colour, print to digital screens and so sided with many of its ilk in the charge to cut costs, save cash.

One has, however, to wonder what it and other shiny magazines, full of great images of cars and caravans, of boats and bikes and other shiny things, will do when thousands of former readers in dentists’ and doctors’ and other waiting rooms are deprived of their captive reading pleasure?

Just think how many older faces, uninterested in the digital world but wealthy enough to buy a new or late-model car (if not motorcycle, perhaps), will be deprived of information and data that just might have turned them on to a shiny Toyota or a fancy Ford.

No sales there, then…

Think Huisgenoot – how many tannies and grannies panting for ideas for new curtains or cushion covers or shades of wool for some winter evening’s knitting will miss turning the pages while waiting for their new dentures.

Or younger females, looking for the perfect outfit – perhaps even a wedding dress?

They for sure won’t be staring mesmerically at tiny cellphone screens, no matter how shiny and bright.

Or the fishing fraternity of grandpas, deprived of their monthly-delivered or newsstand-bought dose of rods and reels, lures and lines, hooks and sinkers. Their cash will no longer be caught in a bank’s transactional net.

Nope, South Africa’s ”much-loved motoring, 4×4 and touring magazine” (referring to Leisure Wheels) will made the transition from printing press to pressing keys on July 1 2020.

Publisher Highbury Media’s managing director Tony Walker blamed a combination of factors for the consolidation: ”Due to the unpredictable business environment created by Covid-19 (poor old ‘flu, blamed again when really the bottom line is the culprit), shrinking magazine sales, and ever-growing pressure on their revenue contribution, we’ve made the hard decision to cease publishing Leisure Wheels as a print magazine.

”The online space is a sustainable environment and readers will continue to see motoring content through its social media platforms and website.”

But not in the nation’s waiting rooms, Mr Walker (unfortunate name for a motoring mag boss, en passant).

Ray Leathern, Highbury’s head of motoring content, has the task of consolidating and expanding the company’s motoring mags onlinle.

Walker added: ”Highbury is looking at greater consolidation. We’re confident Ray will hone the digital strategy.”

Leisure Wheels is a sister brand to Car and Getaway magazines, neither of which is is affected by the digital migration, that claims a healthy digital audience of 52 000 readers a month and ”has shown steady growth across all social media channels”.

One wonders how many copies of the deceased magazine still reside, re-readable and still punting vehicle sales, in waiting rooms across the nation… for now, at least.

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