Posts Tagged ‘news ltd’

The Oz tells Fairfax readers to Think Again

August 31, 2009

THE AUSTRALIAN has announced a multi-million dollar relaunch campaign in an effort to boost readers, take on Fairfax, and position itself to benefit from the imminent “upturn” in fortunes for newspapers.

The national broadsheet will use the slogan “Think. Again.” to invite readers into the improved newspaper, which will feature new sections, an increase in content from the Wall Street Journal, more puzzles, TV and arts coverage, and a redesigned Weekend Australian Magazine.

A promotional campaign will run across free-to-air and pay TV, radio, online, outdoor and in News Ltd’s print titles featuring an impressive array of Aussie personalities endorsing The Australian, starting this Wednesday.

Editor Paul Whittaker told PANPA the timing of the investment coincides with a turning point for the conditions under which newspapers are operating.

“Companies have to position themselves for the upturn, which appears to be underway now,” he said.

A new features section called “A Plus” will be launched, featuring an extended games section, and more arts, entertainment and TV listings and reviews.

Mr Whittaker said A Plus is a deliberate challenge on Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The broader appeal of A Plus is about “giving Fairfax readers an excuse not to read them,” he said.

Arts coverage will be state-based, giving readers a localised perspective of what’s on.

There will be a second page of Wall Street Journal coverage added to the business section, as well as more world news including a stronger focus on high-quality world commentary from the WSJ, the New York Times and other sources.

In addition to the Weekend Australian Magazine revamp, the weekend Review section will be transformed into a separately stitched and trimmed insert.

The editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, said: “We are investing significantly in more content relevant to our core demographic. The latest audit figures prove The Australian’s sales are strong and performing exceptionally well in comparison with all other major daily newspapers. The time is right to build on this market advantage and from it leverage further sales.”

The likes of Ray Martin, Tetsuya, Gerry Harvey, Peter Cosgrove, Grant Hackett, Tim Horan, Collette Dinnigan and Phillip Adams will appear in the promotional campaign, asking potential readers to “Think. Again.” about what issues matter to them, according to a company statement.

Mr Whittaker said the message also meant people should reconsider The Australian and what it offers as a product.


Look in the Mirror to make money from websites

August 20, 2009

BRITAIN’S Daily Mirror has further developed its online niche strategy by launching celebrity gossip website, drawing praise from a local executive who sees topic-based sites as the future of online media.

The new website is an extension of the Mirror’s 3am celebrity column. The newspaper recently launched, a standalone entity aimed at the UK’s legion of football fans.

News Ltd’s Simon Holt, whose win in the 2008 PANPA Hegarty Prize allowed him to take a global study tour, believes niche websites such as the Mirror’s pair are crucial for publishers to make money from online content.

His theory is that “verticals” – or specific topics of interest – should be kept separate from each other online in order to build communities.

“The race is clearly on to capture communities of interest,” Mr Holt said.

“There is a clear feeling in the global media that the first website to gain the loyalty of a mass niche market will be most likely to succeed long-term.

“And if we work on the theory that the vertical with the biggest fan base wins, celebrity gossip and football are right up there.”

Mr Holt believes the Daily Mirror could have picked two winners with the celebrity subject matter.

“The celebrity gossip market is in huge demand. It is perhaps a shame that it took someone like Perez Hilton to prove to everybody that there was mileage in a site which focuses on a niche.”

Building the community around the content is only half the battle, according to Mr Holt, of Sydney’s Cumberland community Newspaper Group.

“They might attract millions of users with the latest innovative functionality, but the true litmus test will be to see whether they can effectively monetise the sites. It will be interesting to see how they decide to best engage clients with their user base.”

Mr Holt will present at Newspapers: The Future Forum, PANPA’s key industry event for 2009. Attendance is free for PANPA members.

McCarthy: Fairfax paywall ‘has to happen’

August 11, 2009

FAIRFAX Media is set to adopt a paid-content model for its online news after chief executive Brian McCarthy admitted it is a change that “will have to happen”.

Although Mr McCarthy didn’t specificy a timeline for changes, it appears Fairfax and major competitor News Ltd will make the ‘paywall’ switch within a similar timeframe, with News Ltd’s ultimate boss Rupert Murdoch revealing last week that News Corp will start rolling out its company-wide strategy for online charges by June next year.

Mr McCarthy told the Sunday Age a two-tiered model mixing free, mass content with paid, “upmarket, high quality” information could work for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites, as well as that of the soon-to-be-launched

“Monetisation will have to happen, because without monetisation of the online sites that the newspaper industries have operated very successfully, we can’t afford to keep the big newsroom staffs we have,” he said.

”We’re certainly getting the [online] traffic. We’re getting the advertising, but it’s not a user-paid model in terms of the reader.”

With News Corp’s paywall plans well publicised, Mr McCarthy has now answered the question of whether Fairfax would also start to charge online or perhaps try to attract more traffic in competitive markets if readers chase free news in the wake of News’ strategy.

Publishers consider Google pull-out

July 29, 2009

NEWS LTD and Fairfax Media are evaluating their relationships with Google after the search giant moved into the online real estate listings space – a market currently dominated by the two publishers – according to The Age newspaper.

News, through, and Fairfax, through its Domain property, face further competition for real estate listing dollars after Google launched its own service.

This competition could lead the two publishers to re-evaluate their spending of millions of dollars to buy search terms from Google, the report said.

Fairfax’s Lloyd Whish-Wilson told The Age: “We are looking at our options at the moment. We are obviously not keen to support a would-be competitor with our revenue.”

Simon Baker, an online classifieds specialist and former boss at, said Google was moving from a search engine to a portal that “is now serving up the end data itself”.

We’re ready for ‘Journalism 2.0’, says Hartigan

July 2, 2009

NEWS Ltd is preparing for “Journalism 2.0” in the form of quality journalism, paid for by multi-platform subscribers, and available on mobile devices, its chairman and chief executive John Hartigan told the National Press Club in Canberra today.

Mr Hartigan said the industry’s future relied on disseminating information people need and value, from top-level investigative reporting to “hyperlocal coverage of real-time events” like petrol prices and local retail offers.

Examining the state of the industry, Mr Hartigan concluded that Australian newspapers would not go the way of their counterparts in the US and the UK, and that bloggers and news aggregators like Google and Yahoo would struggle in the future as they rely heavily on free newspaper content to thrive.

“The real threat to our viability is our own complacency and unwillingness to change,” Mr Hartigan said.

He revealed his company has “at least three separate teams around the country investigating real paid online content options and another looking at newspaper opportunities”.

Mr Hartigan predicted the rise of specialist journalists as readers sought out the very best of a limitless supply of information on all topics.

“What it will take is a complete rethink of the very essence of what is ‘news’,” he said.

“Journalism that doesn’t help people live their lives is going to be a low value commodity.”

Quality journalism will be defined as “Original, useful, unavailable elsewhere and relevant, he said.

Professional journalists in the future would be “very well paid, valued by their readers and the envy of their colleagues”, he said.

You can read the full transcript of Mr Hartigan’s speech here.

News Ltd masthead cuts frequency

June 25, 2009

THE Herbert River Express has dropped its Tuesday edition, moving to a bi-weekly from a tri-weekly newspaper.

The News Ltd title from far north Queensland has also raised its cover price from 90c to A$1, an article told readers.

Manager Karina Fortini acknowledged that readers would be disappointed with the reduced frequency, but said her team is “confident that we can continue to serve our community just as well with two editions per week”.

Swedish publisher pulls pin on US

May 12, 2009

LEADING Swedish publisher Metro International is selling up and getting out of America’s newspaper business.

It has jettisoning its stake in free newspapers in New York and Philadelphia, plus a joint venture with the Boston Globe, whose future is under a cloud pending agreement to US$20 million in cuts to offset a prospective loss of US$55 million this year.

The loss-making newspapers have been sold to Sea Bay Media. No financial details have been released, although the legals are due to be completed by June 1.

Associated Press reported separately that Metro was likely to be only US$2 million out of pocket on the deal.

Metro has made a global splash by launching free commuter newspapers across 22 countries. Currently, it runs 81 communter newspapers, similar in style to mX, owned by News Ltd and published in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The company is also closing up shop in Spain and it has moved its head office back to Stockholm from London – all moves designed to cut costs.

New editors move in, old editors move on

March 5, 2009

FAIRFAX Media has shuffled its deck in its metropolitan business divisions while former Sydney Morning Herald editor Alan Oakley has returned to News Limited as both companies seek to improve the quality of their content.

Meanwhile, the Whyalla News has appointed a new editor, and the Dominion Post’s Tim Pankhurst has left that role to head up New Zealand’s peak newspaper industry bodies.

New business editors have been appointed at the Herald and it’s Melbourne sister, The Age, as Fairfax management seek more collaboration between the two under a new national structure, The Australian reported.

Michael West is the new business editor in Sydney and Kirsty Simpson rises from deputy to take on The Age role. A new national chief of staff will be appointed to more efficiently deploy journalists and columnists, avoiding double ups and improving the overall coverage of national topics.

Mr Oakley has been appointed national editor, features at News Ltd, where he rose through the ranks before leaving for Fairfax in 2000.

“This new role presents a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the transformation of media in Australia and working in a company that has a clear view of its strategic direction and goals,” Mr Oakley said.

Craig Treloar, previously of the Murray Pioneer, has joined South Australia’s Whyalla News as editor.

“Whyalla is a friendly, proud and thriving community which I am very excited to be a part of,” Mr Treloar said on the paper’s website.

Dominion Post editor Tim Pankhurst last week resigned to pursue the challenge of steering New Zealand’s Newspaper Publishers’ Association, which also controls the Newspaper Advertising Bureau and the New Zealand Press Association.

He begins as chief executive of the association next month.

Broadsheets increase market share

February 16, 2009

AUSTRALIAN newspapers are continuing to hold circulation amid the economic downturn, registering half the size of falls seen in similar Western economies.

Combined circulations drops just 2.1 percent in the Sept-Dec 08 period, compared with falls of up to 5.1 percent in Britain, according to analysis released by The Newspaper Works.

The leading broadsheet newspapers – Fairfax’s The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, plus The Australian from the News Ltd stable – all increased their circulations.

The latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation showed The Australian – that country’s national daily – increased weekday sales 1.5 per cent to 137,000 from the same time a year ago, while sales of The Weekend Australian was three points higher at 309,000.

Sales of the inter-state tabloids dipped, however, with softer outcomes in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.

The chief executive of Fairfax Media, Brian McCarthy said last Friday that the overall results showed their more newspapers were being bought than five years ago.

His colleague and publisher of Fairfax’s metropolitan newspapers, Lloyd Whish-Wilson, told the Sydney Morning Herald the was “very pleased” with his company’s performance and that “people continue to turn to us to get the news”.

He said Fairfax had held its own in a difficult circulation period and made market-share gains in the weekday newspaper markets of Sydney and Melbourne.

News pledges A$1 million to fire victims

February 9, 2009

NEWS Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan announced this afternoon his company had pledged $1 million to help victims of Victoria’s devastating bushfires.

The donation will be made to the special Bushfire Appeal set up by the Red Cross and the Victorian and Federal governments.

The company’s donation joins other significant pledges from corporate Australia today that are aimed at funding the immediate need for practical support in fire ravaged areas, as well as help alleviate the longer term financial impact of the devastation.

Mr Hartigan said: “This unprecedented national tragedy warrants an unprecedented response. Our commitment is both financial and, through our thousands of employees and millions of readers around the country, any other kind of support we can harness to assist the victims.”

John Hartigan... support for Victoria's bushfire victims

John Hartigan... support for Victoria's bushfire victims

News Limited has set up a special community notice board which links all of its news websites Australia-wide to help victims and their families.

The online notice board is hosted by is also accessible via each of News Limited’s metropolitan, regional and community newspaper websites nationally.

The site is believed to have received about 10 million visits since midnight on Saturday.

The company’s Victorian network of community and regional titles is providing special local coverage in print and online at with eight of its titles in fire affected areas.

The national site allows readers anywhere in Australia to donate money to the Red Cross and other appeals and provides a Message Board to allow victims and their families and friends to re-establish contact and arrange assistance.

The Herald Sun site also provides direct links to emergency services hotlines, and enables readers to post a permanent tribute to victims of the fires in a special online condolence book set up by Legacy. Tributes and messages of support to fire fighters and emergency service personnel and volunteers, can also be posted on the site.

Readers are also encouraged to contribute disaster relief or make suggestions that will connect the people in dire need of assistance with suppliers of materials and services.

Additionally, readers are able to post photos and information about their first-hand experiences of the fires as a way of helping others to learn more about what is happening to family and friends in the affected areas.

Mr Hartigan said the company would make further announcements in the coming days about other initiatives to provide support for victims. The first of these is a 12-hour telethon tomorrow being run jointly by News Limited’s Geelong Advertiser newspaper and the City of Greater Geelong.

Mr Hartigan said: “This is a tragedy that affects every Australian and tragically some of our staff have lost family members, friends and properties. I urge everyone to contribute something, no matter how modest, to help ease the suffering of so many of our fellow Australians.”