More structural change and cuts as Fairfax turns to digital

Fairfax Media is expected to announce a restructure and management overhaul this week as it continues to cut costs and transition its business from print to a predominantly digital future.

Fairfax Media is expected to announce a restructure and management overhaul this week as it continues to cut costs and transition its business from print to a predominantly digital future.

A Fairfax spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday about any changes at the company, the owner of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. The changes are expected to result in business units merged and further cost-cutting initiatives.

At the company's half-year results in February, chief executive Greg Hywood said the company would be pursuing "additional structural initiatives and cost savings" beyond those announced in the Fairfax of the Future program in June last year.

"We're taking a fresh look at territories once considered sacred cows and smashing silos that long seemed untouchable," he said at the time.

At the half-year results announcement, the Financial Review Group was folded into the results of Fairfax's metropolitan media business for the first time.

Under the Fairfax of the Future program, about 1900 staff, equating to 20 per cent of the workforce, will be cut over three years and the company's largest printing facilities in Sydney and Melbourne will be closed as the company combats digital structural change and a prolonged downturn in media advertising.

Recent initiatives include changing The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to compact formats last month and the introduction of a digital subscription model in the June quarter.

Mr Hywood has said that the company would "continue to be in print while it's profitable".

In February, the company upgraded targeted cost savings from the Fairfax of the Future program from $235 million to $251 million by June 2014, when the full impact of the initiatives become effective.

It said core advertising continued to be weak - revenue for the six weeks to early February was down 9-10 per cent on the previous year.

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