News Ltd says ‘print is not dead’ as it follows suit with restructure

Pundits had been bracing for more bloodletting of the scale seen in the announcement earlier this week from Fairfax, which cut 1,900 jobs over three years, including 400 printing roles.

News Ltd, which publishes The Australian and has 11 coldest web offset printing plants across the country, did not shed any light on the changes to its print portfolio, which also includes the country’s third-largest magazine publisher, News Life Media (formerly News Magazines).

The announcement recognised the role of print in the media organisation. Kim Williams, chief executive of News Australia, said: “Print is not dead and has a strong future in which we, for one, have confidence as we build all our future consumer platforms – print, online, tablet, mobile, broadcast and social.”

The fact Fairfax revealed much greater detail around job cuts, changes to printing capacity and newspaper formats could be explained by a requirement for greater disclosure from the ASX-listed company.

News Ltd, on the other hand, offered scant facts about how the restructure would hit jobs or printed products.

Williams said: “At this stage we cannot say how many roles will be made redundant as full details will be resolved with the implementation. Although there will be retrenchments, many roles will be retired through natural attrition.”

The News Ltd announcement was led by a land grab for a greater share of the Australian media landscape, with a bid for Consolidated Media Holdings, which is 50.05% owned by James Packer.

The deal would give News Ltd a 100% share of Fox Sports and 50% of Foxtel.

News Ltd also spent $30 million to acquire Australian Independent Business Media, which publishes websites Business Spectator and the Eureka Report.

Fairfax’s decision to close the Chullora and Tullamarine printing plants and axe 400 print jobs has angered the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, which said it had “been led up the garden path” by the media giant.

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