Fairfax Media is making structural changes to newsroom at its capital city newspapers to save $30 million a year.
The media group today started what it calls a “process of consultation” with its Australian Metro Publishing newsrooms on proposed structural editorial changes.
The savings are based on pulling back both non-staff and staff costs. Sources said the consultations with staff will include the introduction of new roles and others no longer required.
Fairfax reconfirmed its previous commitment to continue printing hard copies of its newspapers.
“We will continue to print for many years, so long as our newspapers have an audience and advertisers,” said Chris Janz, managing director of Australian Metro Publishing.
Janz, a veteran of digital publications, was appointed in February on the same day CEO Greg Hywood said the company would continue to print “daily for some years yet”.
Fairfax is also restructuring its business, planning to list its Domain classifieds as a separate ASX company to extract full value from that fast growing business.
The latest half year results show the company with an after tax net profit up 205.6% to $83.7 million on revenue of $913.0 million, down 4%. Underlying profit, without significant items, rose 6.1% to $84.7 million.
Janz says the latest changes to the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday newsrooms complete a major project to restructure editorial. There was no mention of the Australian Financial review, a national title.
“The primary focus of Fairfax Media over recent years has been to lay the groundwork for the creation of a sustainable publishing model,” Janz said.
“We are now within reach of that goal.”
The non-staff costs of the proposal are expected to deliver $30 million in annual savings with the majority expected next financial year.
“Our publications will be genuine digital businesses with the capabilities and cost base to best operate in the current media environment,” says Janz.
“We will be introducing an innovative mix of new products to deliver our audience focused, quality journalism and maximise our revenue opportunities.”
(Disclosure: Allure Media, the publisher of Business Insider, is 100% owned by Fairfax Media.)