Fairfax announces more closures

Fairfax Media has announced that it will cease to produce its monthly glossy inserted magazines the (sydney) magazine and the (melbourne) magazine as of next month as part of a restructure to further reduce costs.

The restructure includes the integration of Fairfax’s Business Media units, including The Australian Financial Review.

As a result, 25 editorial staff will be offered redundancies from Business Media, as well as 20 staff from News and Life Media unit.

The news was broken to staff in an email from Fairfax Media’s managing director of Australian Publishing Media Allen Williams.

Mr Williams said the reductions were the result of a challenging revenue environment. “While we are satisfied with the actions we are taking to address these challenges, we must also find cost reductions across our business.”

The new structure will produce new efficiencies and remove duplication.

“Over the past couple of months, we have consulted extensively with Business Media staff about the integration of Business Day,” Mr Williams said. “We also plan to change Financial Review Capital from a quarterly magazine to a run-of-book quarterly newspaper section. As a result, we are proposing a reduction in Business Media staff of approximately 25 employees through a redundancy program.”

The Media and Arts Alliance is consulting with staff at Fairfax over the redundancies.

Despite the changes at Fairfax, The Australian has no plans of altering its magazine publishing strategy.

The Australian’s chief executive Nicholas Gray: “The Australian’s inserted magazines are highly valued by our readers. We have no current plans to alter our portfolio and today’s news from Fairfax doesn’t change that. Our recent launch of Executive Living online, designed to bring our high-end and luxury magazine material to life in digital formats, has been a great audience and commercial success so far and we will continue to look for ways to innovate in both digital and print.”

The full Fairfax memo to staff is below:

To all News, Life and Business staff:

As you know, there is a lot of work being done to transform the Australian Publishing Media (APM) division. I want to thank you all for your exceptional work and commitment over recent months. Your professionalism and dedication is greatly appreciated.

The current revenue environment remains challenging. While we are satisfied with the actions we are taking to address these challenges, we must also find cost reductions across our business. And amongst other things, this will involve more changes in staffing levels in the News, Life and Business publishing units.

Business Media

Over the past couple of months, we have consulted extensively with Business Media staff about the integration of Business Day. The new structure will produce new efficiencies and remove duplication. We also plan to change Financial Review Capital from a quarterly magazine to a run-of-book quarterly newspaper section. As a result, we are proposing a reduction in Business Media staff of approximately 25 employees through a redundancy program.

News and Life Media

As you know, we have been reviewing our product mix in APM over the past four months. The results of the initial phase of the review have led to the clear decision to close two monthly insert magazines, the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine, finishing with the November 2013 issues.

It’s no secret to anyone in the media business that magazines have been an increasingly challenged platform. The sydney/melbourne titles have been great magazines, but it makes commercial sense to make these changes.

Closing the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine will impact approximately 10 employees in the News publishing unit. We will explore redeployment opportunities for affected individuals. But the current revenue challenges we face requires us to pursue further cost reduction. As a result, we propose redundancies of approximately 20 employees across News Media and Life Media.

We remain committed to our other newspaper-inserted magazines and have already begun exploring new digital opportunities in the luxury category.

Consultation

Garry Linnell, Sean Aylmer, Melina Cruickshank and myself will be consulting with you, including holding staff Question and Answer sessions today.

We have already been in contact with the MEAA about today’s announcement and will continue to consult with them.

There will be further information sessions and discussions ahead of making any final decisions. We will take your feedback into account.

We anticipate being in a position to communicate our decision about next steps by 14 October 2013.

We understand that this time may be unsettling. I would like to remind everyone that Fairfax staff and their immediate family can access an Employee Assistance Program for confidential support and advice at no cost to them.

Regards,

Allen Williams

Managing Director – Australian Publishing Media

Fairfax Media

Leave a comment