Posts Tagged ‘Hywood’

  • Fairfax pledges commitment to print

    Fairfax Media is standing by the printed word, pledging to maintain the frequency of print publication for its major mastheads in Australia and New Zealand – despite moving to close down its two largest newspaper print facilities by 2014.

    In a message to shareholders for the company’s Investor Day on 6 June, Greg Hywood (pictured), chief executive officer, said that the company’s decision to keep up the frequency of its printed media titles was prompted by their continuing profitability.

    “Let me make one thing clear,” said Hywood in his letter to Fairfax shareholders. “We do not have any intention to reduce the frequency of print publication of any of our major mastheads in the foreseeable future. Why? Because they are profitable.”

    The comment comes less than a year after the company said it would close down its major metropolitan broadsheet newspaper print production sites in Chullora, NSW, and Tullamarine in Victoria by June 2014.

    The proposed closures are part of an ongoing ‘Fairfax of the Future’ restructuring program that the company hopes will deliver an additional $60 million in savings by the end of September this year.

    “One important outcome of the restructure is that it will allow us to deliver an additional $60 million in savings by the end of September, this September, over and above the $251 million that we have previously set out,” Hywood told investors.

    Much of the restructure has involved consolidating the company’s smaller, more profitable print sites, centralising news gathering resources and removing duplication of content production, while moving more content online.

    However, with the company re-launching a new smaller edition of its broadsheet metro titles, transferring much of its print capacity to its regional print facilities and signing a $30 million plate deal with Fujifilm in May, it is clear that print media is set to remain central to its business model.

    According to Hywood, Fairfax publishes 431 publications and 337 websites, with seven radio stations and almost 100 mobile device apps.

    While the Fairfax management team is talking up its savings and continued profit, the company does concede that the market remains bumpy, with revenues somewhat depressed compared to previous years.

    “In a nutshell, conditions remain pretty tough,” said Hywood. “Consistent with previous advice – in the current half, up to the third week of May, overall group revenues are 9-10 per cent lower than the previous corresponding period.

    “Taking a look at our segments, which will update after our full-year results, Metro Media is tracking down 11 per cent, Regional down 11 per cent as a result of very difficult conditions in mining-related areas and Queensland, New Zealand is 4 per cent behind, while Broadcasting is ahead more than 10 per cent. Domain’s digital business is up 16 per cent,” he said.