Posts Tagged ‘News Corp’

  • Full horror of News print decline revealed

    Figures revealed by News Corp to the US Securities & Exchange Commission have revealed how far its metro titles have fallen since the advent of the GFC. At the same time the figures show digital readership is skyrocketing.

    The country’s biggest selling newsprint paper remains The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney with print sales of 334,209. However The Sunday Tele’s sales are now way behind the 734,000 average back in 2003, losing 60 per cent of its print run, and prints 40 per cent fewer than the 516,000 copies a day it was selling only five years ago.

    Sales of The Sunday Herald Sun sales are also way off the heights of 2006, when they topped 623,000, today they are just behind the Sunday Tele, coming in at 325,592. The figures reveal that the print run of the Herald Sun is down by 8.5 per cent in the year to 386,867.

    Total print figure of The Courier Mail is 125,000 compared to the peak print figure of 204,500 in 2008, and Adelaide’s The Advertiser print sales of 106,000 is way off its 2003 print figure of 222,600.

    Digital uptake however is rocketing ahead, many News titles showing digital growth of 40 to 50 per cent in the year, led the The Australian where digital growth jumped by 53 per cent.

  • End of an era: Fairfax and News confirm landmark newspaper printing deal

    Fairfax Media and News Corp have announced a ‘landmark’ consolidation initiative that will see the once-bitter rivals sharing each other’s printing networks. Fairfax print sites at Beresfield (NSW) and Ormiston (Queensland) will close, with the loss of at least a hundred print jobs. The AMWU has called emergency meetings of affected workers at several sites.

    Fairfax flagships The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review will now be printed at News Corp’s Chullora site. “As part of new arrangements, Metro work currently produced at North Richmond (The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review) will transition to News Corp’s Chullora print site,” Fairfax told the AMWU this morning via email. “This change will open up print windows allowing North Richmond to absorb work from Fairfax’s Beresfield site, including for a number of ACM titles, as well as some products for News Corp.

    ‘A rational approach to complex issues’: Greg Hywood, CEO Fairfax Media.

    “The announced changes will impact printing schedules at the North Richmond site. Once the transition of work is complete, the company will assess its operations, including rostering and staffing levels, and consult and engage with staff regarding any changes that may be necessary.”

    In statements to the ASX on Wednesday morning, the companies say News Corp will provide a range of printing services for Fairfax in New South Wales and Queensland, while Fairfax will print publications for News Corp out of its North Richmond (NSW) plant.

    “These are landmark initiatives,” said Fairfax CEO and managing director Greg Hywood. “They demonstrate a rational approach to the complex issues facing the industry. The printing arrangements make the production of newspapers more efficient for both publishers. Better utilisation of existing print assets makes sense and will deliver economic benefits to Fairfax Media.”

    Hywood says there will be no change to the availability of Fairfax newspapers. “The agreements deliver greater cost variabilisation, enabling us to produce newspapers well into the future.

    “Our decision to rationalise some printing assets reduces capital intensity. We expect the combination of the new arrangements, and the changes to Fairfax’s printing network to result in an annualised full-year benefit of approximately $15 million. The financial benefits are expected to begin towards the end of FY19 H1.

    “From today, we are consulting with staff at our printing centres affected by the new arrangements. Fairfax is committed to providing comprehensive assistance and support and will meet all our employment obligations.”

    Following consultation with staff and a transition period, work will progressively shift to other sites and the Beresfield and Ormiston print sites are scheduled to close, Fairfax told the AMWU. “As a result, all positions at Ormiston and Beresfield sites will be redundant and employees will be exiting unless suitable redeployment opportunities are able to be identified.

    “Management has commenced meetings today with affected employees to inform them of the changes. As part of the consultation process, the company will seek feedback and discuss measures to mitigate or avert the effects of changes. This will include exploring any potential redeployment opportunities and providing outplacement services.”

    ‘This is a commercial deal which makes commercial sense’: Michael Miller, executive chairman, News Corp Australasia.

    In its announcement, News Corp says it will provide seven-day printing services to Fairfax in NSW and Queensland. Fairfax will print some publications for News Corp out of its North Richmond plant.

    News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller says the arrangements demonstrate the company’s confidence in the future of printed newspapers and in the influence and impact of trusted newspaper journalism.  In addition, he said the arrangements with Fairfax Media provides benefits of scale and efficiency.

    “As a publisher, we have absolute confidence in the ongoing significance of newspapers.  Within this framework, we need to continue to look at the most effective and efficient ways to produce newspapers. This is a commercial deal which makes commercial sense by enabling better use of our existing print facilities.”

    In addition to NSW and Queensland, Miller says talks are continuing to develop further opportunities that ensure the competitiveness and viability of News Corp’s mastheads.

    News says the arrangement mirrors that in place in New Zealand, where HT&E Media (formerly APN Media) prints certain Fairfax newspaper titles, and in Britain where News UK prints the newspapers of its competitors e.g.  Daily Mail, Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph(UK) and the Daily Express.

    The new printing arrangement will commence this month and the companies say they will continue to explore further opportunities. There has been no announcement yet about their newspaper printing sites in Victoria.

    Last week, Fairfax Media and News Corp said they had dismissed an earlier proposal by their hired business advisor Deloitte to close five newspaper printing plants across NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The AMWU said hundreds of print workers would have been made redundant under the plan. That proposal would have shut down Fairfax at North Richmond, which will now continue operations.

  • Fairfax & News dismiss Deloitte’s radical newspaper plant closure plan

    Fairfax Media and News Corp say they’ve dismissed a proposal by their hired business advisor Deloitte to close five newspaper printing plants across NSW, Victoria and Queensland. 

    Print21 has seen a draft copy of a confidential 18-page document titled Project Rain, prepared by Deloitte Consulting in January 2018, which outlines a range of consolidation options including five site closures over the next two years. Under a plan that would reshape the local newspaper publishing landscape, Fairfax plants at North Richmond and Beresfield in NSW would be shut down and consolidated into News’ Chullora, and News Corp’s Port Melbourne print site, located on valuable real estate land, would be folded into Fairfax Ballarat. Another proposal is the closure of both News Corp’s Murarrie site in Brisbane and its Warwick plant in south-east Queensland.

    The consolidation would consist of closing five sites across NSW, VIC and QLD and setting printing agreements in each state, says the Deloitte report.

    An excerpt from Project Rain (January 2018).

    There are two options outlined for News Corp’s Queensland business. Murarrie in Brisbane, which prints the Courier Mail, would close in December, with the publishing operation transferred to News’ Yandina site and Fairfax’s plant at Ormiston. A second option would consolidate Fairfax Ormiston into an expanded Murarrie. “Two options available and decision required,” says Deloitte in a note.

    Between 300-400 print workers would be made redundant under the plan, according to an industry source.

    In what’s described as a ‘theoretical best case scenario,’ the report proposed beginning extension work at Fairfax Ballarat VIC and at News Corp’s Yandina QLD in March 2018.

    An excerpt from Project Rain (January 2018).

    Approached for comment, the companies issued similar statements dismissing the Deloitte proposal as ‘redundant.’

    “Deloitte assisted Fairfax and News Corp with some scoping work around printing options,” said a Fairfax Media spokesperson. “Both companies have previously announced to the market that we have been exploring options around printing. The plans and assumptions outlined in the document are completely redundant and were found not to be feasible. Fairfax and News continue to have productive discussions around printing options.”

    A News Corp spokesperson said: “The document you refer to is a redundant scoping document and none of the material it contains is of any relevance today.”

    The unions are less than convinced. “It seems strange that they would pay a lot of money to a company like Deloitte to prepare a report and then put it on the scrapheap,” says the AMWU’s national print division secretary, Lorraine Cassin. 

    ‘Deeper strategic opportunities’: Greg Hywood, CEO Fairfax Media.

    The AMWU will meet with senior management at News Corp next month to discuss the consolidation plans. “There’s all sorts of rumours out there about what they’re looking at and what sort of collaboration will be taking place, which is affecting the morale of our members,” says Cassin. “We don’t want to be blindsided by an announcement and what we’re saying to the companies is: be transparent, let’s deal with this together.”

    Fairfax and News Corp have been talking for some time about sharing print facilities and collaborating on newspaper distribution in Australia. In February, Fairfax appointed a team of advisers to pursue ‘deeper strategic opportunities’ with News after posting a 54 percent fall in net profit to $38.5m in the first six months.

    “We expect greater industry cooperation will deliver significant benefits,” Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood told the ASX at the time. “We have progressed our recent positive discussions with News Corp Australia to seek industry-wide efficiencies in printing and distribution. We have had successful collaborations around shared trucking and printing titles for News in Queensland. Building on this collaboration, we have appointed advisers to pursue deeper strategic opportunities.”