Fairfax drives consolidation in regional publishing

The proposed tie-up between Fairfax Community Newspapers in Victoria (FCNV) and Metro Media Publishing (MMP) still needs approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Nic Cola, chief executive of Fairfax Media’s classified advertising division, Marketplaces, said he was unable to comment in detail until after ACCC approval, but he did confirm printing arrangements would be examined and efficiencies sought if the merger went ahead.

However, Cola said he was happy with the performance of the current printing providers and that the aim of the proposed merger was growth.

FCNV publishes 32 weekly newspapers in Melbourne, while MMP publishes The Weekly Review, a free weekly real estate and lifestyle magazine.

MMP managing director Anthony Catalano said the merger would offer the chance “to build a stronger internet and app presence for the local real estate industry”.

But that didn’t mean the merged entity would lose its focus on hard copy, said Cola.

“We’re investing in the model because we think that local community newspaper model is an important part of the local community and real estate advertising,” he said.

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