Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood outlined at an American Chamber of Commerce lunch in Melbourne on Friday the significant changes at the company since he joined the company in 1976.
From a company based on revenue from classified advertising, he said Fairfax now was ”rebuilding its business model” by taking out 25 per cent of costs over several years, charging for online content, and focusing on growth in custom publishing, events, and marketing for small and medium-size enterprises.
In a speech entitled ”The Pleasure and the Pain” he said: ”Here’s a business that was a newspaper business and for many years created a digital output … now we’re a 24/7 digital news and information business that happens to produce a newspaper at the end of the day.
”What’s the pleasure in that? Well, the pleasure in that is … these mastheads which were newspapers but are much more than that now, provide an absolutely fundamental good in our community.
”What we are, actually, is a very interesting company: we provide a public good within a commercial model. We ask the questions that need to be asked.”
Mr Hywood described Fairfax’s recent coverage of claims of corruption at Leighton Holdings, the Reserve Bank’s Securency business, and the dealings of disgraced former NSW politician Eddie Obeid as stories that ”did not come about from a press release”.