Jaco’s speech

Senior Management, Valued clients of Caxton Local Media and Caxtonites. Welcome to the 2016 Caxton Excellence awards

2016 has certainly been one of the craziest years the world has ever seen. 2016 was the year when grown men and women climbed out of their cars and caught monsters on their mobile devices through a game called Pokémon go. 2016 was also the year where the entire UK went for a special vote and after voting yes at the poles they realised they have exited the European Union and are now left all on their own. The US who is by nature filled with craziness, also went to the poles and after one of the ugliest pre-election campaigns to date, the votes were in and to everyone’s surprise Donald Trump became their latest president. In our own borders there were more than enough craziness. The year started on the back of the whole Nene fiasco with the Rand going into turmoil against most major currencies and poor Pravin Gordon was left trying his utmost best to keep the country from hitting junk status. Surprisingly our own youth decided that Pokémon Go is not crazy enough and it is much more fun to disrupt tertiary education through the fees must fall campaign. Apart from craziness, 2016 was also one of the hottest years to date. Our country experienced one of the toughest droughts in many years, but again for some crazy reason all the wrong things caught fire, like Ford Kuga’s and Samsung Galaxy note 7’s.

At Caxton we decided to rather embrace crazy and if the world can go off their knockers why should we remain normal. So we decided to dress up our newspapers in a fashionable crazy way and launched offerings called Belly bands, Power wraps, jackets, layered inserts, interactive dye cut inserts and a funny add-on called the Digiquill. Although some of these have had a slow start I am proud to say that over twenty million Rands worth of power wraps were sold in 2016. The biggest single campaign was the IEC municipal elections where more than 3million of our newspapers were each wrapped by an IEC power wrap. We are extremely proud that despite tough trading conditions our national sales arm – Spark Media – delivered phenomenal results. Not only did they grow their existing client’s spend but they managed to bring on a huge number of brand new clients, which embraced the potential of our publications. A huge thank you goes out to Gill Randall, Marc du Plessis and the entire Spark team. A special thanks from me personally to Olav Westphal who we should rename Bearer of good news. Ollie I truly appreciate the phone calls enlightening me on all the success stories.

These results also shows that local newspapers remains a significant powerful marketing medium for all business types. In our main factory in the last week of November we achieved a new record on the number of inserts for a single week. Our factory inserted 26.2 million retail leaflets into 53 local newspapers in a single week. To put this into perspective the largest of these papers, which was Record East in Pretoria, carried 34 retail pamphlets inside the main body. In order to produce this beast the product had to run 4 times through the insert production line. It weighed 1.2kg per copy with a print order of just over 70000 newspapers. This meant that almost a 100 tons of newspapers had to be moved by over 20, 8ton trucks through peak hour traffic. Also envision what the poor runners had to go through walking the streets, carrying this weight and delivering this publication to every house in the Pretoria East footprint. We were extremely proud that all 53 of the Gauteng newspapers were delivered within the Friday week deadline and it shows our commitment in getting our clients message into the hands of the consumer in every town or community we publish in.  I can assure our clients that we will continue to enhance the offering and this year we have given specific focus to the quality of our papers. During 2016 we have appointed the experienced Irma Green in conjunction with her own top team to focus on the quality of the publications content, both in print and in digital format. Already several newspapers have been revamped with extreme positive feedback from the different local communities. We thank Irma and Mirelle for the great job done so far and is excited about the new passion which is created in our newsrooms country wide.

2016 was also the year for massive change within Caxton Local media stable. As we say goodbye to our mentor and great leader Bruce Sturgeon who has been a corner stone of our company for so many years. Bruce we will deal with you later. Tonight I would like to thank Mathilda, Bruce’s wife. Mathilda thank you for sharing Bruce with us for so many key decisions, supportive visits at outline areas, long hours and many days and nights away from home. We appreciate the sacrifices you and your family made on behalf of our company, but we also know that you realised that Bruce’s love for the publishing industry and specifically our company made Bruce tick and it was with that support that Bruce was allowed to be Bruce and give us so many years of creative thinking and innovative leadership. Mathilda we thank you for the extreme loyal support you gave Bruce and Caxton.

On that note I think it is also important to take a look at what was created in the last couple of years, under the leadership of Bruce Sturgeon and Piet Greyling. At end of 2016 I am extremely proud to say that Caxton Local Media’s offering includes a 138 Local newspapers, 12 Getit magazines, 79 local title websites and 10 strategic located newspaper factories. I am also proud to say that we will continue to build on this offering and earlier this month we have invested in a publication called Kathorus Mail, who are distributed in the Vosloorus and surrounding areas. We welcome Zaid Khumalo to the Caxton family and is extremely excited to watch this publication grow in the near future. We are also proud to announce that from 1 April we will also be investing in 2 publications – Die Pos distributed in the beautiful towns of BelaBela and Modimole and The Beat in Hammanskraal. We are proud to finally give a warm welcome to Bea Emslie and Keina Swart into the Caxton Family, whom have for many years successfully ran 2 of the most successful independent local newspapers in the country. This emphasises the outlook of the company to continue to invest into quality people who shares the same passion and vision than us and allow them to continue to serve their town’s local communities, but with the backing of a big brother. Bea and Keina we trust that this big step will reap high rewards for yourselves and your great newspaper team and we invite you to get involved within the different avenues within the Caxton stable.

Before we start the awards I would like to thank Dejane Poil who ensured that this evening is of this superb quality. Dejane thank you to you and your team for the extreme input and long hours in making this evening a huge success and oh so beautiful.  Also a massive thank you to Gien Elsas and her team who co-ordinated the judging of this event in conjunction with the different champions. A big thank you goes out to our judges for giving us their time and selecting our winners, but most importantly giving us positive criticism so we can correct or improve where we are going wrong. Lastly I would also like to thank our brand new management team, Karen, Karen, Nicole, Buks, Irma, Marlene and Mario for the way you have embraced your new role in extreme tough economic conditions. I truly believe that through our leadership great things will come to our company.

At CAXTON we have over 2billion Rands worth of newspaper printing equipment BUT the true value and largest asset remains our people. The Caxton Local media division employs over 2000 employees in all corners of the country and each one plays a role in the success of our business. We pride ourselves that within our operations, staff can be creative and develop their own skills on a daily basis. Tonight we acknowledge some of that excellence and innovation. A huge congratulations to every winner as you are the best in the field. For those of you that just missed out, 2017 is a great year to do something truly amazing. I hereby thank every Caxtonite for his or her contribution in 2016. May we continue to build on this excellence and enhance our daily offering to our clients, readers and the communities we serve.

Enjoy your evening.