Comparing Fairfax Media and News Limited Strategy

Comparing Fairfax Media and News Limited Strategy

The last few days have seen a huge amount of news and commentary about Australia’s two largest media companies. Last week both Fairfax Media and News Limited made announcements to combat the decline in print revenue by putting digital at the centre of their strategy. In both cases the companies are streamlining their organisations with associated job losses (1900 announced by Fairfax, numbers to be confirmed by News Ltd).

Fairfax announced that they will move to a tabloid format for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and close two printing presses. The key digital impact is a digital first strategy with a pay wall to be erected around content (using a metered content model) and a centralised newsroom. The theory is that this allows Fairfax to cut manpower costs and charge to access content while continuing to earn online ad revenues as the metered pay wall still allows content to be found online by non-paying users.

Fairfax‘s online content is currently free. Successful examples for paid content include financial publications such as The Financial Times and The Australian Financial Review where the content is targeted at specific users who are willing and used to paying for valuable content not found elsewhere. The New York Times also provides an example of a metered content model; they reportedly have 454,000 paid digital subscribers accessing their global news and insight. The challenge for Fairfax is to replicate these models for content that is currently free (and available elsewhere for free) and limited to defined metro areas.

Australia Digital Future 2050 Report

Australia Digital Future 2050 Report

A new report (Australia’s Digital Future Report 2050), commissioned by IBM provides a set of predictions on how digital will effect Australian industries and the overall economy by 2050. The report uses the term ‘the new utility’, to describe the combination of ICT, ubiquitous high speed broadband, analytics, learning systems, cloud computing and more that enables our digital future.

The comprehensive report considers all industry sectors in Australia and predicts that digital technologies will underpin future economic growth and productivity for the next 40 years. The key predictions for 2050 are that the new utility will:

• Transform our lives, work and health
• Enable national revenue will grow eight fold from $131 billion (3.3% of national revenue) to $1 trillion (18.8% of predicted national revenue)
• Allow one in four workers to work from home either part time or full time
• Substantially benefit 46% of industries
• Contribute to the demise of 15 industries unless they reinvent themselves

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