Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’

  • 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.

  • Fairfax print closures ‘just the beginning’

    Fairfax Media printing plant at Ormiston, Brisbane.

    The AMWU says the ‘devastating’ closures of Fairfax newspaper printing plants at Ormiston in Brisbane and Beresfield in Newcastle could be just the beginning, with the North Richmond site next in the firing line.

    “This is just the start of further consolidation in the newspaper sector in Australia,” says AMWU Queensland print division secretary Danny Dougherty. “It’s just the beginning. They could shut down North Richmond next then move on to the sites in Melbourne.”

    Former rivals Fairfax Media and News Corp this week announced a ‘landmark’ plan to share their printing networks in a consolidation restructure that will see Fairfax close its Ormiston and Beresfield printing centres with the loss of more than 120 print jobs.

    Fairfax at North Richmond.

    As part of the deal, Fairfax metropolitan newspapers currently produced at North Richmond, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review, will now be printed at News Corp Chullora.

    “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,” Fairfax said in a statement. “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.”

    Doughtery says the announcement this week took the workers by surprise. “There were no discussions. They were called into a meeting at Ormiston on Wednesday morning and told their jobs were gone. It’s very hard for people in these situations. No-one’s prepared. It all happened very quickly and they’re shocked and devastated.”

    At least 55 printing workers lost their jobs at the Brisbane plant and another 70 people are out the door at Beresfield in Newcastle, NSW.

    “Then there’s the flow on effect to people like the drivers who are delivering the papers,” says Doughtery. “We’re still not sure what’s happening in other parts of the company, with people who work in digital, as well as editors and journalists. There’s talk that Fairfax will sell the building.”

    ‘Our members are angry’: Lorraine Cassin, AMWU.

    Lorraine Cassin, national secretary of the AMWU printing division, says the union will meet with Fairfax to discuss any further changes to the operation at North Richmond, which recently completed a $20 million upgrade.

    “We were blindsided by the announcement and our members are angry,” says Cassin. “Fairfax Media has indicated all affected employees will be paid their full entitlements but we know that these closures will hit hard and we will be working with the company to identify redeployment opportunities.

    “While Fairfax Media has stated that the rationalisation is designed to effect ‘efficiencies,’ we urge the company to recognise that its highly skilled printers have given many years of loyal service to the newspaper industry.”

    Mass meetings of sacked workers will be held on Monday.

  • 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.”

  • Print readership up almost 5%


    National newspapers are leading the growth in news media audiences, with print readership rising by 4.7 per cent year on year, according to the latest emma data for March 2018.

    The emma survey – the first from the new strategic collaboration between The Readership Works, Nielsen and Ipsos – also shows that digital audiences, who consume news media on devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, continue to grow, up 3.8 per cent to 13.5 million.

    Total cross platform readership for Australia’s news media sector remained stable in March, reaching 16.5 million or 90 per cent of the population (aged 14+). Printed newspapers are read by 12.4m each month, or two-thirds of Australians.

    “Meanwhile, Facebook has purged 583 million fake accounts in the first quarter of 2018”: Peter Miller, CEO NewsMediaWorks.

    Metro newspapers were read by 10.2 million people, or 56 per cent of consumers, over the same period. Regional and community news media brands are read by more than one third of the population (35 per cent), or 6.4 million people. The growth in news media continues to reflect the increasing recognition by Australians that news brands offer the most trustworthy and credible content, according to NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller.

    “Emma’s strategic collaboration with Nielsen and Ipsos reinforces the robust, transparent and independently audited readership currency metric for advertisers and media agencies, as advertisers become even more focused on trusted, brand safe environments for their campaigns,” Miller said.

    “Meanwhile, Facebook has purged 583 million fake accounts in the first quarter of 2018, which is around 25 per cent of its self-claimed monthly audience of 2.1 billion. Whilst trust is back in vogue, it’s never gone out of fashion for credible journalism and proper news brands, reflected in the ADTRUST Galaxy Research study2 that reveals news media as the most trusted media for consumers for both content and ads of any channel.”

    The Sydney Morning Herald is Australia’s highest-reaching title across all platforms with 4.75 million readers. The Daily Telegraph followed, reaching 4 million readers and the Herald Sun on 3.95 million.

  • Newspapers shine in new Aussie readership survey

    The Newspaper Works, is taking a fresh look at Australia’s magazine and newspaper readership tally following its backing of the launch this month of a new media metrics measurement platform – and its findings show that the printed word still shines in Australia’s changing media mix.

    The new platform, Enhanced Media Metrics Australia – known as ‘emma’ – launched on 19 August, is designed to take a new cross-media snapshot on a monthly basis of the country’s media readership and audience trends.

    The new platform, backed by the print media industry body, The Newspaper Works, is set to provide the local industry an alternative source of media trends insight from Roy Morgan Research, which until now, had been of the primary information gatherers in the sector.

    According to The Newspaper Works, the fusion of Nielsen Online Ratings with emma makes it possible to combine IAB-endorsed online currency data with emma’s rich newspaper and consumer profiling data.

    Emma’s launch was accompanied by the new platform’s first set of findings, which suggest continuing strength in newspapers as a mass medium, with newspaper titles across four platforms – print, web, mobile and tablet – reaching 83 per cent of Australians within a four week period.

    According to the findings, newspapers reach a swathe of young and old Australians, with an overall age profile in line with the population, and mobile platforms providing targeted reach into younger age groups.

    Printed newspapers continue to command a mass audience, with 12.8 million Australians seeing a National or Metropolitan title every month, 3.1 million of them being under the age of 30.

    Web-based reading of National and Metropolitan newspapers is significant, comprising 5.9 million people, just over a third of all Australians.  Eight out of ten also see the printed form over the course of a month, providing advertisers with the opportunity for coordinated targeting across the two platforms.

    Newspapers on mobile provide access to a younger demographic, with 80 per cent of monthly users under 45 and 37 per cent under 30.  Tablet newspaper reading is particularly strong in the 30-44 demographic (40 per cent of all tablet readers, as compared with 26 per cent of the population).

    Analysis of the overlap between mobile and tablet newspaper readers reinforces that the two groups are distinct.  Each platform has 1.5 million plus readers, but only a third of these are common to the two.  The two platforms are far from interchangeable for advertisers.

    Newspapers are clearly an important part of the tablet ecosystem, with nearly a third (30 per cent) of tablet users having used the device to access newspaper websites or apps in the last four weeks.  Nearly one in five (17 per cent) of all smartphone users access newspaper content on their device.  As tablet and smartphone ownership in Australia continues to grow we expect newspaper reading to do the same.

    According to Mal Dale, general manager of The Readership Works, the information provided by emma will provide media agencies and advertisers with a richer class of data than what was previously available.

    “This will be an historic day for the industry,” said Dale. “In the development of emma we believe we have met and exceeded calls from media agencies and advertisers for cross-platform accountability and greater accuracy, transparency and frequency of data.

    “emma’s methodology will enable media agencies and advertisers to have confidence in the data to paint richer, more contemporary consumer portraits,” he said.

    The new measurement survey was developed by independent research company Ipsos MediaCT, global leaders in local audience measurement. Ipsos conducts national audience surveys and is the official measurement system in 41 countries including the UK, Italy and France.

    Despite Dale’s claims, however, some members of the local media landscape have expressed concern over the new platform, which is effectively bankrolled by Australia’s major publishers.

    According to a report published on advertising and media news website, Mumbrella, senior media buyers are warning that emma will struggle to attain widespread take up among advertising agencies – the bread and butter of print media revenu

  • Ferag’s entry level inserting line at Swiss press day

    The new automatic inserting line, MiniSert, is primarily aimed at small newspapers but has the potential for serving the new line of digital news publications slated to go in to regional sites later this year.

    The Swiss company reinforced its commitment to developing new technology and its belief in the viability of printing during the media event at its factory in Hinwell outside Zurich last week. A gathering of the world’s graphic arts media saw Ferag bring online two pieces of equipment first shown as concepts at drupa in May.

    In addition to the MiniSert, Ferag also presented its new Unicover40 for inline processing of magazine covers in the form of unfolded sheets coming directly from web offset presses to the gather stitcher. The cover hopper, which was put through it paces at the company’s PMC Print Media user park, runs at twice the speed of conventional solutions.

    According to Jürg Möckli, CEO, bringing newly developed equipment to market is the distinguishing trait of the company. “At Ferag we believe in developing our own equipment, not producing copies of the competition,” he said. “Not many companies are doing this in this market. Innovation is our answer to market conditions; we intend to surprise and astonish the market with new developments. We believe in the printed word.”

    While the MiniSert is targeted mainly at smaller newspapers that have up until now inserted by hand, in the Australian and New Zealand market its main potential will be for the new generation of digital newspaper presses. Although so far none are in operation, suppliers are insisting the first installation is imminent. At 20,000 finished products per hour, the MiniSert may be faster than required but it still represents the best option for automatic insertion at lower speeds.

    Of course, it also represents an excellent entry level for any smaller regional newspapers that are not inserting automatically. It is completely modular in construction and able to be up and running within a week of installation.

    The more conventional Unicover40 has doubled the speed of standard cover hoppers to 40,000 copies per hour. This enables it to be connected directly to the gather-stitcher. By taking unfolded sheets directly from the press it completely eliminates one production process – the separate folding machine.

    With more newspaper plants producing heatset magazines the utility of the Unicover40 cannot be overestimated.