Fairfax the big winner as Australia gets new metro newspaper

Fairfax Media has won the contract to print and distribute a new metro newspaper that will have a print run of up to 100,000 copies.

Schwartz Media, which publishes The Monthly and Quarterly Essay, announced it would launch The Saturday Paper in the first quarter of 2014.

Chief executive Rebecca Costello told ProPrint the weekend title would be a 32pp tabloid-sized newspaper.

It is expected to have a circulation of 80,000 to 100,000 and will be distributed in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, she said.

She also said she hoped the new publication would not cannibalise the overall pool of newspaper circulation and print advertising.

"Ideally, The Saturday Paper will increase the combined circulation and advertising revenue. We think it’s important that Australia has more newspapers, not less."

Costello said a well-run print newspaper could still be profitable. She added that The Saturday Paper was "an agile start-up" that would operate "without the impediments of a cumbersome and expensive newsroom".

[Related: Newspapers have "never had bigger audiences"]

"All our modelling suggests that even on the most modest of projections this venture will be a financial success," she told ProPrint.

"There is a significant gap in the market for quality news and we believe we will quickly establish an audience of readers who are not adequately catered for by current publishers.

"The disruption caused by the internet has left our rivals scrambling to reinvent themselves and in the process they have stopped doing what they once did well: serious, long-form news that takes time but holds power to account and is a key to the trust newspapers have lost. This is what we will do."

Fairfax will print the Sydney and Canberra papers at North Richmond and the Melbourne papers at Ballarat, said the media giant’s group director of printing and distribution, Bob Lockley.

He also told ProPrint that Fairfax business Integrated Publication Solutions would manage the distribution to retailers and subscribers.

Lockley said he was thrilled by the win. "It says the client wants quality and product and on-time delivery and all that goes along with that.

"We've got the infrastructure to do it – printing and distribution under the one roof. It's a one-stop shop. That's the bottom line."

[LinkedIn: Was Murdoch right to say newspapers are dying?]

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