Posts Tagged ‘Horton Media’

  • Horton slams Fairfax on the way out

    The Goss Community press at Horton Media, Narangba.

    Horton Media is shutting down its coldset printing plant in Queensland and exiting the Australian newspaper publishing market, blaming “grossly uncompetitive behaviour” by competitor Fairfax Media.

    “Unbelievably unsustainable prices”: Matthew Horton, CEO Horton Media.

    “We weren’t making any money,” says Matthew Horton, CEO of NZ-owned independent publisher Horton Media. “Fairfax has totally and absolutely destroyed the profitability of the coldset web printing market in Australia. In my view, they’ve engaged in grossly uncompetitive behaviour by offering unbelievably unsustainable prices, which they’ve compounded by offering those lucky clients ridiculous payment terms. It was just not worth going on in that situation. Given the continuing trends in the printing and publishing markets, the action we’ve taken was not unforeseeable.”

    Fairfax operates a newspaper and magazine printing site at nearby Ormiston in Brisbane.

    On its website, award-winning Horton describes itself as Australasia’s largest independent contract newspaper printer, with plants in Auckland and Brisbane and clients around the world. Australian customers included dozens of independent publishers such as Sunshine Valley Gazette, Coolum & North Shore Advertiser and Defence News – all of whom have been forced to find alternative printing deals.

    Horton Media, Narangba.

    The company’s plant at Narangba, north of Brisbane, will be shut down, with staff losses confined to a single shift of workers, according to Horton. Its flagship four-tower Goss Community press and post-press equipment is being sold off. 

    “It’s in very good condition and we’ve already had a lot of good interest,” says Horton. “It’s one of the best maintained pieces of kit around and ideal for short-to-medium run paginations. If we don’t end up selling it, we may redeploy it to New Zealand, where we’re thinking of expanding at our Auckland plant. We have a much stronger competitive profile in New Zealand than here.”

    Horton’s Australian unit will now focus on building its digital publishing business.

    “We’ve always had ambitions to return to publishing [the Horton family used to own The New Zealand Herald] and have been working for a couple of years on data analysis and acquisition. We’ve also launched an online business called Vinloco, which is aimed at Australia’s 11.5 million regular wine shoppers.”