Today sees the end of an era at Fairfax Media, and Australian newspaper publishing, as the family that built the countries first publishing empire announced it had sold its remaining stake in the company. The news affirms that the demise of paper publications is set to become chronic. People can now easily and freely access news from virtually anywhere in the world using digital media via phones, tablets and computers, leaving the humble broadsheet close to redundant.
Printed newspapers and magazines continue to struggle on both the standard measures, circulation and copies sold, as the industry waits hand in pocket, for a combined readership measure for both print and digital editions, hold your breath, it’s coming, really it is? And while the Fairfax family might have shed it’s under-performing publishing stock, those still sat around boardrooms must have some serious scowls, the Audit Bureau of Circulation figures for the September quarter contained little good news for either of the major Australian publishers, News Ltd or Fairfax Media. News Ltd’s Sydney Morning Herald saw its overall circulation shrinking by almost 5 percent in the quarter, while News Ltd’s weekend editions copped a steep fall of close to 8 percent.
The Fairfax ownership of media has been a rocky road since 1841. The last 35 years have been particularly dramatic. In December 2006, in what many saw as a romantic reunion, the Fairfax family came back home when Fairfax Media announced a merger with the family owned Rural Press. in April 2007, Rural Press shareholders approved the merger with Fairfax. On that day, Fairfax shares sat at $5.07, valuing the family stake at $1.08 billion. Yesterday, those shares were sold for just $194 million, $814 million less than at the time of the merger. Getting of a sinking boat is clearly a success, taking you luggage is perhaps a bonus not missed. Read the full article »»»»