Australian Newsagency Blog

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Weekends are what matters next for Nine/Fairfax print newspapers

Mark Fletcher
January 5th, 2019 · 18 Comments

Fairfax is promoting the weekend only print and anytime digital access to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Here is the pop up currently running on the website for each masthead:

It makes sense as shifting to weekend only print editions is a common move among daily newspaper publishers who have retreated from seven day publishing.

A cross at The Australian Financial Review, their pitch is less in four face, but clearly focussed on weekend only publication.

I am not looking forward to Nine/Fairfax or any published reducing or cutting print editions as when it first happens the disruption to the channel will be considerable. However, since it will happen, the best thing for all is for it to happen sooner so we get out the other side.

I say the disruption to the channel will be considerable because of the psychological impact I suspect it will have on many, newsagents who have not started to transition their businesses to rely less on print media.

Given the weekday circulation for the Fairfax titles and considering moves made by some daily newspaper publishers overseas, I am surprised we still have the seven and six day products being published. The losses most weekdays must be considerable.


Category: Media disruption · newsagency of the future · Newspapers

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Colin // Jan 5, 2019 at 7:39 AM

    The Nine share price indicates the market is unconvinced by the Fairfax merger. The full results are due in August. Newsagents should be seated before reading the comments on future trading.


  • 2 ed // Jan 5, 2019 at 10:32 AM

    Reading what you have written, you get the impression you are now working for fairfax /nine.
    The the true impact will be the massive loss of income and readership ninefairfax will loose and they won’t come back.


  • 3 Mark Fletcher // Jan 5, 2019 at 11:15 AM

    Ed it is better to be realistic. The trajectory in circulation has one clear outcome. The best position for a newsagent is to have been preparing for this years ago.


  • 4 John // Jan 12, 2019 at 7:16 PM


    There is no way the digital content is worth what Fairfax is asking.

    We charge $19.38 per cal month for Saturday paper and delivery, our mates here want $69.00 per month. Am I missing something?

    Why would anyone spend another $50 per month?

    Remember digital is the way forward at a huge price mark up!

    Long live Newspapers at these prices.



  • 5 Graeme // Jan 12, 2019 at 7:19 PM

    As well John the potential for advertising is far greater with print than digital.


  • 6 Lance // Jan 12, 2019 at 8:25 PM

    How so Graeme ?
    I would have thought that with technology as advanced as it is digital connection to advertising would be easier and more cost effective than print.

    That said, I imagine those who want to advertise could do it themselves without the involvement of an outside media outlet.



  • 7 Mark Fletcher // Jan 12, 2019 at 10:40 PM

    Graeme, from an advertiser’s perspective, the potential for advertising on digital platforms is far greater …. placement, interaction, believable metrics, flexibility, format, depth of engagement, data and more.

    One of the reasons newspaper companies are closing print editions is the collapse in interest in print ads.


  • 8 Mark Fletcher // Jan 12, 2019 at 10:42 PM

    John, Fairfax, News Corp, the Guardian and others are doing well with digital revenue in Australia. Engagement by Australians in digital edition subscriptions is strong per capita.


  • 9 Graeme // Jan 13, 2019 at 6:58 PM

    Rephrasing what I said Digital advertising has not made up the difference of what was the full experience in print media the two together do not make up the whole of the previous advertising market. Not yet. My statement should have read the potential with advertising is far greater with digital as with print as print media is falling and on line increasing. Too much hurry, sorry for that the transition is the same for them as the consumer one to one hard copy versus on line It will sort itself out depending upon the outcome of the effort and offer made by the participants.


  • 10 Graeme // Jan 13, 2019 at 9:36 PM

    Lance, in my eperience the “pull” isn’t the same largely depends on the product. Huge sort out yet to e determined. No Black or white as yet however no choice but to be adaptable and sensitive to change. The old saying that e more things change the more they stay the same is being challenged ..Big time.


  • 11 colin // Jan 14, 2019 at 10:04 AM

    Back to the offer by AFR. I think the publishers are misguided if they think persuading customers to take our subscriptions is the answer.

    Having been on the other side of the fence for 25 years, a commuter who regularly bought papers. I favoured certain publications but I did buy others and at times I switched for periods. The loyalty to a certain rag is very overstated, most people have a preference, that’s all, most are not diehard fans.

    Their offers may entice, but the churn will be high. The model will not work, they need to get people to pay by view and attract by having the best up to date news, not by offering a “cheap” access to an outdated newspaper.


  • 12 Paul S // Jan 15, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    John @ 4
    The $69 not only inlcudes the Saturday paper delivery and digital but you also get Monday to Friday digital copy so it’s actually a big saving over paying the paper subscription price . 😉


  • 13 Andrew T // Jan 15, 2019 at 6:24 PM

    Why would you die from a thousand cuts as a news agency owner. It baffles me.


  • 14 Mark Fletcher // Jan 16, 2019 at 7:15 AM

    Just because you might Andrew, as a poor retailer, does not mean all others will.

    Revenue in my shops was up last year, as was GP%. I know I am not alone.


  • 15 Colin // Jan 16, 2019 at 8:42 AM

    Newsagencies will die from a 1000 cuts.

    Transitioned newsagencies will survive and prosper as something else.

    Either way, newsagencies will disappear.


  • 16 Graeme // Jan 16, 2019 at 9:02 PM

    Transition is not new. Printers , compositors and Proof Readers type setters etc Coopers (beer keg makers) one could go on horse and cart to M.V.
    Adapt says history with the dinasaur or die.
    Not rocket science.
    Newsagencies as Colin and Mark state will tranform if you want yours to. If not sit on your pervebial and whatch them die or your own just fade away. Your choice there are plenty of examples out there of growth and survival. It’s work, it requires thinking and planning -making Sales not just taking Sales.
    it’s reality.


  • 17 MARK R // Jan 17, 2019 at 11:34 AM

    News Ltd here in SA have been running weekend papers + Digital subscriptions for some considerable time.

    Over the last 5 years there has been a considerable fall in the sale of newspapers over the counter in all retail outlets, including newsagencies.

    The retail side of our industry is loosing it’s relevance to a large portion of the consumer market. The word Newsagent or Newsagency is now seen as a negative by many consumers they imidatly think 90s style shops , we can modernise our shops , create or expand new departments within our store and use social media to change perception. But a lot more work needs to be done to capture new shoppers .

    Distribution only Newsagents are the ones who will be affected the most. Any reduction in the weekly print run of our major daily’s ,would be disastrous for the Distribution agents.


  • 18 Mark Fletcher // Jan 17, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    I don’t see any upside whatsoever for distribution agents, unless there is a significant shift in publisher terms and a new and appropriate use of their infrastructure that fits with papers. I wish it were otherwise but I can’t see it. This is why I sold my run ten years ago.


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