Tribunal hears testimony in Media 24 case

Johannesburg - The Competition Tribunal has heard testimony from a former Media24 manager on its strategies to force competitors in the community newspaper market out of business, Business Day reported on Wednesday.

The former senior manager responsible for community newspapers at Die Volksblad in the Free State, Wian Bonthuyzen, said on Tuesday the strategy was deliberately aimed at undercutting opponents on advertising tariffs until they could no longer sustain their loses.

The newspaper reported that this eventually led to the demise of its fiercest competitor in the Goldfields area, Gold-Net News, in 2009.

Gold-Net complained about the conduct between 2004 and 2009 to the Competition Commission, which found that Media24 engaged in predatory pricing, charging prices below average variable costs.

Media24 had denied the allegations and is defending itself before the tribunal.

Bonthuyzen was subpoenaed by the commission to appear before the tribunal after he became reluctant to give evidence, although he was helping the commission with the investigation.

The commission found that Media24 used Goudveld Forum, a loss-making community newspaper in the goldfields area, as a "fighting brand" to undercut Gold-Net News on its advertising rates, causing it to suffer continued financial losses.

* Fin24 is part of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.48
-0.6%
Rand - Pound
21.02
-0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.55
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.13
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.7%
Gold
1,813.90
-0.3%
Silver
23.47
+2.0%
Palladium
1,912.00
+1.8%
Platinum
990.00
+1.4%
Brent Crude
86.48
+0.5%
Top 40
68,282
-0.9%
All Share
74,956
-0.8%
Resource 10
74,510
-0.3%
Industrial 25
94,294
-1.3%
Financial 15
15,338
-1.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot