Fairfax shuts magazines and sheds news roles

Fairfax Media will shed at least 45 jobs across its publishing units, and close glossy magazines the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine, amid continued "challenging" advertising markets and a company-wide cost-cutting program.

Fairfax Media will shed at least 45 jobs across its publishing units, and close glossy magazines the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine, amid continued "challenging" advertising markets and a company-wide cost-cutting program.

Twenty-five redundancies will be offered at Fairfax's Business Media unit: The Australian Financial Review, BRW, Smart Investor, plus BusinessDay, the business section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. The AFR's Capital quarterly magazine will become a quarterly newspaper section.

A further 20 redundancies will be offered across Fairfax's News Media and Life Media arms. News Media covers broadsheets including The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, while Life Media comprises the sections Good Food, Epicure, Traveller, The Vine and Daily Life.

The 10 employees affected by the November closure of the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine might be redeployed, said Allen Williams, managing director of the Australian Publishing Media arm.

"The current revenue environment remains challenging. While we are satisfied with the actions we are taking to address these challenges, we must also find cost reductions across our business. And amongst other things, this will involve more changes in staffing levels in the News, Life and Business publishing units," Mr Williams said in an email to staff.

"It's no secret to anyone in the media business that magazines have been an increasingly challenged platform. The sydney/melbourne titles have been great magazines, but it makes commercial sense to make these changes.

"We remain committed to our other newspaper-inserted magazines and have already begun exploring new digital opportunities in the luxury category." Final decisions are expected by October 14.

The news comes as media companies continue to struggle with challenging advertising markets and fragmented audiences. Both Fairfax, the owner of BusinessDay, and rival News Corp have in recent years started charging for access to their websites, as revenue and circulation of print titles wane.

News Corp, in its latest results, revealed that its advertising and circulation revenue from its Australian titles fell by $US350 million ($372 million) - or 15 per cent - from the previous year. It also revealed it was hit by $US270 million worth of restructuring and redundancy costs due to cuts made at its Australian and US newspapers during the period.

In addition, dozens of reporters left News Corp mid-year as part of an involuntary redundancy program.

Fairfax in August reported a full-year loss of $16.4 million, compared with the $2.7 billion loss reported in the previous year. The year's result was marred by an 8.2 per cent fall in revenue to $2 billion and write-downs worth $445 million on its regional, printing and agricultural business.

But chief executive Greg Hywood said Fairfax achieved half its one-year subscription targets for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald in July alone.

There were 68,000 paid digital subscriptions and 98,000 bundled print and digital subscriptions, with "minimal impact on overall traffic numbers", he said.

No updates on digital subscription numbers were available on Tuesday.

Mr Hywood said Fairfax was targeting new revenue streams in events and marketing services.

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