The Financial Review to go digital only in WA

Image credit: Nine

The Australian Financial Review will soon become a digital-only news title in Western Australia, with the Nine-owned masthead claiming the Seven-owned printer “demanded a new contract that doubled the cost of printing.”

The AFR reported that “the Seven-owned Colourpress, the only printer of major newspapers in Western Australia, delivered the ultimatum to Nine Publishing MD Tory Maguire”, with the proposed 100 per cent increase in the printing price set to bring to an end seven decades of the AFR distributing a printed newspaper in that state.

“Ms Maguire received an email from Shane O’Connor, Seven’s chief financial officer in WA, on April 23. It was the day Nine’s free news site in the state, WA Today, held a launch event. The short email notified Ms Maguire that Colourpress was terminating the contract early in 28 days,” reported the AFR.

“The company had previously agreed that the contract would run until late July. The email attached a new quote for services from the 29th day that would double the fee, sending the operation into loss. There was no other explanation, and none was forthcoming despite repeated requests for information.”

Nine Publishing said it will upgrade the Today’s Newspaper section, a digital version of the physical paper, on the AFR website. Distribution of the Financial Review Magazine and quarterly Fin! Magazine will continue and be sold separately in news agencies.

“This decision is specific to Western Australia and has no impact on our papers and magazines in the rest of the country,” Nine Publishing MD Tory Maguire said in a statement.

“We work very constructively with the printers of our newspapers and magazines to ensure the long-term sustainability of our print products, which continue to be profitable.

“Fortunately, the Financial Review is an incredibly successful digital publication, which has allowed us to make this decision in the best interests of our business,” said Maguire.

A Seven spokesman told the AFR: “It is a commercial decision. To suggest anything else would be inaccurate and disingenuous.”

The last Western Australian print edition of The Australian Financial Review will be on May 22.

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