SowetanLIVE remains free to read for now: a letter from our editor

We have plenty of great content for our registered readers to consume

Image: 123RF/racorn/SowetanLIVE

Dear reader,

A week ago, we announced that Sowetan would launch a paid subscription offering on our digital platform to give you access to exclusive, quality content such as our special investigations into local government, data journalism, our excellent columnists and our popular Time Out entertainment section.

This decision was necessitated by a rapidly changing media environment and the ever-growing demands of producing quality public interest journalism on multiple platforms. 

Like many media platforms across the world, we had to assess our business model and make necessary interventions to ensure that are we sustainable as an organisation and are able to deliver on our mandate to you.

Since the announcement last week, we have received feedback that has compelled us to reconsider our decision. We therefore will not be launching a paid subscription in the proposed format at this stage.

This is not a decision taken lightly. 

However, as an organisation that listens, we have had to balance a number of responsibilities that include our efforts to remain sustainable, our mandate to keep you informed and the difficult economic environment that has directly affected you, our dear reader. 

Just last week, Stats SA told us that our unemployment rate rose to 32.6% from the final quarter of last year, a situation no doubt worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not only does this paint a grim picture of unemployment, but it also means those who have jobs must do much more with less.

Therefore our commitment to delivering on our mandate demands that we further explore other revenue opportunities to fulfil our obligations.

Your consumption patterns have cemented digital media as the primary source of information. For this reason, we must continue to invest the necessary resources and technologies to produce the quality journalism you expect from us, in the most convenient way to you.

We also pledge to engage with you, to understand your information needs and to gear our efforts towards meeting them. 

This is why we encourage you to register, for free, on SowetanLIVE to access all available content and to help us better serve you as a reader.

Once again, thank you for your loyalty and support over the years. 

Let's continue telling your story. 

Best, Nwabisa Makunga