Fairfax fairly fucked

June 18th, 2012 at 12:43 pm by David Farrar

The announcements today by Fairfax are massive. In summary, they are:

  •  The Sydney Morning Herald and (Melbourne) age to move to tabloid format on 4 March 2013
  • SMH and Age websites have most content go subscription only
  • Two printing facilities to close
  • 1,900 staff to be let go over three years
  • A$248m of restructuring costs, which will lead to A$215m annual savings
  • Sale of 15% of Trade Me for A$160m
  • Metro newspapers may go digital only (no print edition) if print advertising and circulation revenue declines materially

It will be interesting to see what happens to in New Zealand.

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40 Responses to “Fairfax fairly fucked”

  1. infused (634 comments) says:

    Was waiting for that…

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  2. Redbaiter (7,521 comments) says:

    That’s what happens when you put politics ahead of your balance sheet.

    NZ newspapers take note.

    Can’t wait for Gina to start socking it to those pathetic commies too. (when she gets on the board)

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  3. Manolo (13,297 comments) says:

    The Melbourne Age has drifted to the left more that was even possible. It’s demise was a matter of time.

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  4. wreck1080 (3,719 comments) says:

    It would appear trademe has been one of their better performing investments.

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  5. dime (9,351 comments) says:

    wreck – you mean a private company is selling part of a performing asset to raise capital?? but the left told me that never happens.

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  6. Paulus (2,485 comments) says:

    Sunday Pravda Times will be next to get treatment.

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  7. metcalph (1,358 comments) says:

    All this to preserve the editorial direction of their papers? I am reminded of the wreck of the Medusa for some reason…

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  8. thedavincimode (6,512 comments) says:

    We had better sell TVNZ pronto before the whole pile of crap collapses in a heap.

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  9. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    So the problem, according to the usual RWNJ, is these newpapers are too left wing and that is why they are in trouble.

    Nothing to do with people getting their news from the internet, rather than paying for a paper?

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  10. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    On investigation it is probably the production costs leading to the downsized tabloid size. Newsprint has got expensive to produce or import and production costs and machinery costs are growing. I wouldn’t read a loss of market share into the announcement although there is evidence that on line news is impacting on print.

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  11. labours a joke (442 comments) says:

    “We had better sell TVNZ pronto before the whole pile of crap collapses in a heap.”

    It already has. If ya can stomach it watch TV 1 between 9 and 12 weekdays….truly hurl material..

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  12. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    So the problem, according to the usual RWNJ, is these newpapers are too left wing and that is why they are in trouble.

    One comment from a right winger whose gone so far to the right he’s almost lapping Lenin and all of a sudden this is a right wing meme?

    Yer a dumbarse.

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  13. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    This is capitalism in practice: if people don’t like your product then they won’t buy it. This is not so much an issue of the dead tree press having a hard time, but rather people just not buying Fairfax newspapers in Australia.

    While the Aussie Greens and Labourites are often saying that News Corp controls 70% of the newspapers in Oz, the truth is that rather they sell 70% of the newspapers in Oz. News Corp only owns about 30% of the newspapers, but is showing continued growth, something that YesWeDid’s comment doesn’t reflect. That shows that News Corps’ product is far more valued by the Australian people than the Fairfax product. How much of the Fairfax decline is due to their left wing bias is probably a little speculative, although it makes sense to think that at least a part of it has been caused by, as

    I must say that I approve of the compact format. I was sceptical when the Times did it, but once I had sampled the present Times on a busy tube train, I was a convert. Much more easily used than the broadsheet style.

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  14. Colville (2,056 comments) says:

    My wife brought a actuall real physical paper this weekend…first one I had seen ouside of a cafe in ages.
    I read the comics :-) pretty much everything else in it I had seen online.

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  15. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    @Bevan – just one comment? Get some glasses.

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  16. tvb (4,192 comments) says:

    This is the beginning of the end for print media. The problem is they cannot make digital work. There are other consequential changes such as the demand for newsprint – which will crash and our consequentially our forestry industry.

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  17. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    And if they think a pay wall will help they are dreaming.

    The writing is not of a quality that would make one spend a dollar.

    More importantly whats going to happen to the Fish and Chip shops?

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  18. nasska (10,606 comments) says:

    What will all this mean for news aggregation service providers?

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  19. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    The Herald will go the same way. May be in 1 or 2 years time.

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  20. SHG (358 comments) says:

    CEO Greg Hywood said 20% of the cuts would come from editorial

    Fairfax’s editorial standards are abysmal NOW – imagine how they’ll be after the cuts.

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  21. 2boyz (249 comments) says:

    Paywalls on some of their websites, good luck with that. people do not want to pay for that sort of thing.

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  22. onthenumber8 (20 comments) says:

    The Dom Post will go to tabloid format, it’s already being discussed.

    Worth pointing out that ‘tabloid’ is merely a reference to the size of the printed paper as opposed to the current ‘broadsheet’ format. Which is fine by me, it’s a total waste of paper!

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  23. David Garrett (6,307 comments) says:

    Onethenumber8:…why do the young have these silly “handles” ?? ( and if you are not young you should know better…)

    Can anyone cite a decent newspaper that is tabloid in size but “broadsheet” (in the old fashioned sense of taking more than five minutes to digest) in content?

    did someone above say the London Times is now a tabloid?

    I agree that for physical “readability” – such as on a bus or in the wind – a tabloid format is a damn sight easier than broadsheet….and then of course the Herald remains broadsheet in size but is most definitely now “tabloid” – like “the Sun” – in content….so I guess I am answering myself: print format need not have anything to do with the gravity of the contents…

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  24. onthenumber8 (20 comments) says:

    I don’t know what you mean by “handle”. I must be young.

    I like the smaller format, you feel like less of a douche spreading it out across a table.

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  25. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    DavidG,

    It was I who mentioned the Times. It hasn’t become a tabloid, rather it is published in what is called tabloid format. That is basically a more compact form, rather than the more traditional ‘broadsheet’ form that most NZ dailies are published in.

    Thankfully the Times has not joined the red-tops (which is how you know the actual tabloids in the UK!)

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  26. onthenumber8 (20 comments) says:

    DavidG,

    It took looking it up in the dictionary, but I now know “handle” is slang for nickname.

    The reason is that I am actually a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. I’d rather stay anonymous.

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  27. wreck1080 (3,719 comments) says:

    Oh, where will i read my aussie news now?

    The australian has a firewall, now smh.com.au.

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  28. James Stephenson (2,004 comments) says:

    It hasn’t become a tabloid, rather it is published in what is called tabloid format.

    It went tabloid nearly ten years ago, I think. Bloody ruined it, it used to fold up perfectly to do the crossword on one’s knee.

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  29. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    @Bevan – just one comment? Get some glasses.

    Manolo is talking about one newspaper, not the entire Fairfax organization. Reading and comprehension – you suck at it.

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  30. KH (687 comments) says:

    Fairfax cut costs where they could. Journalists. And have screwed themselves.
    Who would buy such papers? Not many apparently.
    I have been shuttling between Auckland and Dunedin these last few weeks.
    The corporately owned Herald has nothing in it anymore. Tabloidish. Reporting what comes in on twitter. etc etc. Why buy it.
    The privately owned Otago Daily Times is packed with news and information. (apparently they have a journalists still)
    You want to buy it and read it. And it’s worth advertising in.

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  31. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..What will all this mean for news aggregation service providers?..”

    good news..really..

    ..the old model takes yet another lurch towards extinction…

    ..meanwhile…the new lean/mean model waits in the wings…

    ..(already providing a much better service for readers..)

    (a paywall for stuff/herald..?..seriously..?..may as well stick one on the northern advocate too…eh..?..)

    phillip ure whoar.co.nz

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  32. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Um phil, if the news organizations blocked you from leaching their content by charging your arse then you’d have sweet fa left.

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  33. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    well bevan..dunno about that..

    ..news will out..(locally…)..and there are always different sources…news hates a vacuum..eh..?

    ..and internationally..a lot of the sources i rely on/use are the new model media anyway…

    ..and the world hasn’t come to an end ‘cos murdoch paywalled the times etc..

    ..they just aren’t used any more..

    ..i firmly believe the free-access supported by advertising is the new model..

    ..with quality of content being what draws the readers..

    ..phillip ure whoar.co.nz

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  34. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (2,262) Says:
    June 18th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Oh, where will i read my aussie news now?

    The australian has a firewall, now smh.com.au.

    Thier Local Daily’s are listed at the bottom of the front page. No firewalls there.

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  35. Redbaiter (7,521 comments) says:

    “a right winger whose gone so far to the right he’s almost lapping Lenin”

    Oh yeah that Lenin, always was a small government Tea Partying sonnofabitch wasn’t he?

    FFS, you sure you ain’t a Fairfax journalist?

    (Hey Manolo, note the fake right wingers are being more and more exposed lately?)

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  36. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Trying to remember the last time I purchased a newspaper.

    Thinking…

    Nope. Can’t recall.

    Don’t even know the going price.

    Death by a 1000 increasingly shrill editorials.

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  37. Dave Mann (1,168 comments) says:

    Anybody who thinks that printed media (of ANY kind) has any future at all is stupid, frankly. The future for communicating the ‘news’, the gossip and opinions is the internet. Full stop.

    The big problem for the newspapers is getting people to pay to read them on the net. So far they have been trying to make revenue by carrying advertising, thus reducing themselves to the status of ‘free giveaways’ and this is not working. However, the news sites WILL gradually adopt the firewall as a way of recouping costs. One or two majors will have the guts to do it, then the followers will follow.

    The future for TV is just as bleak. Not only free-to-air (which is now reduced to the status of junk in most countries), but satellite too. Some organisations must have braindead management if they don’t realise this…. but given the quality of their programming, this isn’t too surprising.

    Just as an exercise folks, go through your mind and try to pick which industries will survive the next ten years, which will go under and which will thrive.

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  38. Kimble (4,374 comments) says:

    If this is their desperate attempt to avoid a complete take-over by Gina R it failed. The stock price bump only brought it back to where it was less than a month ago.

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  39. Bogusnews (441 comments) says:

    While it is absolutely correct that people are getting more and more of their news online, I think there has been a groundswell of readers who are tired of the MSM dictating the news and telling us how to vote, the teapot tapes is a classic example. I remember the deliberate cover up of a particularly bad news story for Labour during the elections which was only exposed by the blogs.
    My wife is a journalist. I had a long discussion with some “old school” colleagues of hers at Christmas. they mentioned they had tried to tell the Herald to get away from populist, opinion driven articals and get back to hard news. The chief editor laughed at him and said he was a dinosaur.
    Says it all really.

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  40. Rick Rowling (797 comments) says:

    Brilliant reading of emerging technology by the print media. Hmmm, here’s a new way to distribute our content. Let’s give our content away for free on this medium, it’s sure to lead to more people paying to buy our content on our traditional medium.

    Now it’s a Pyhhric battle with neither major player daring to be first to charge for their work.

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