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Panpa Bulletin : December 2009
www.panpa.org.au 2 | The NPA Bulletin | DECEMBER 2009 The NPA Bulletin is the official publication of the Newspaper Publishers' Association. The views expressed in The Bulletin are not necessarily those of the Association. Send all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 1443-7481 ©PANPA - 2009 Issue 276 of The NPA Bulletin Newspaper Publishers' Association NPA Board NPA Staff Mark Hollands Chief Executive Officer Nick Evershed Editorial Coordinator Samantha Gibbens Cager Business Development Manager Lucy Tan Accounts/Administration NPA, Suite 62, The Hub, 89-97 Jones St, Ultimo, NSW, 2007 Australia Phone: +61 2 8338 6300 Fax: +61 2 8338 6311 www.panpa.org.au Andrew Leighton Norske Skog President Joe Talcott News Ltd Martin Simons APN Publishing, New Zealand Campbell Reid News Ltd Ross McPherson Shepparton Newspapers Chris Pash Dow Jones, Asia Pacific Vice-President Liam Roche West Australian Newspapers CEO's Column Mark Hollands CEO of the Newspaper Publishers' Association Do you see what I see? ANY industry in a state of transforma- tion offers a vista of the good, the bad and the inevitable contradictions. We call ourselves the "newspaper industry" but our fastest growing business is digital. Most major pub- lishers have not integrated these two sides of the business, yet our readers switch between mediums without a second thought. Most revenue comes from newspa- pers yet print is wrongly demeaned as having no future. Publishers articulate, albeit vague- ly, about generating money from internet content; only to be greeted by a chorus of naysayers claiming it can't be done; with the not-too-dis- tant echo of Google racking up yet another record profit even in a US recession. Industry-scale transformation cre- ates confusion -- and it brings out characters who are happy to claim to possess all the answers without the re- sponsibility of delivering a result. In the Australian market, the managing director of the ABC seems to want that less-than-enviable role. We are deep in the change process. It hurts. Always does. It's easy to cling on to the negative when answers are elusive. Avoid the temptation. We face structural challenges -- and we have to respond with structural strategies. If the internet has claimed the breaking news domain, then edi- tors have to change their approach. Still, too many accept the theory but then put out a newspaper like they have always done. The number of times I see a straight news story in print that I knew about the previous day from a newspaper website, I could count in the thousands. The reverse is true, too. Electronic media continually rips off newspa- pers by taking news broken by print journalists to fill their air time, and their pockets with revenue from their advertisers. Until recently, who could be bothered caring? We do now. It's turning "news" from a value-based item to a commodity and funda- mentally threatening jobs across our companies. The industry -- globally and lo- cally -- has to respond and right now we are experiencing that period of flux where executives are working through these issues. Online charging is not necessar- ily an inevitable way to profitability but it is a place to begin a long-term, game-changing strategy. A tremendous volume of clap-trap has been spoken about this topic. The most sense I have heard has come from Richard Freudenstein at the re- cent PANPA Future Forum. He does not talk about putting everything behind a paywall but creating value- added services. Sticking all our news behind a virtu- al cyclone fence may suit a select few titles. Why would any single company in our market do that and handover millions of ad dollars to their oppo- nents? It is possible some newspaper companies will start to exclude some of their "more valuable assets", such as columnists, from their websites. But that ought to be about it. And besides, not everything in a newspaper goes on the website, anyway. Creating new content-focused busi- nesses is the next game. Many an edi- tor will say that new technology gives us "better ways to tell great stories". And it gives us better ways to charge for what we do, too. The first real sign of this has come from News Corp and the Wall Street Journal, which has launched a l "professional edition", meshing its own content with that of Dow Jones Newswires and Factiva. This is the type of initiative Mr Freudenstein is talking about. The editor of the London Times has also spoken s about an all-you-can-eat package. Finance is an obvious place to start because potential buyers might see a true return on the investment of a sub- scription. And like all new models, it initially attracts innovators and early adopters. Over time, this can expand to a greater majority prepared to pay for things about which they are pas- sionate -- PayTV premium channels being a good example of how this has worked in the past. Newspaper companies can do this because we have the staff with the necessary understanding and experi- ence of content and reader. Other companies, such as Telstra, Optus and even some of the major sports administrators think they can do it but just don't have our firepower. Those who bleat about how people won't pay for what is already free are missing the point. Not every content-charging ven- ture will be a success. A friend once explained that Kerry Packer would launch and close magazines all the time. For every 10 put into the mar- ket in a year, three might succeed. In a decade, that's 30 extra, profit- able titles. It is possible our own digital busi- ness models will take a similar path. As the cliché goes, there's nothing to fear but fear itself. Production: Océ on a Jet Stream 2200 digital press in Munich Germany Paper: 58gsm supplied by Océ Art Direction & Design: Jason Howard, Leader Community Newspapers Colour Management: Richard Maguire, Leader Community Newspapers Glen St Leon, Fairfax Media PANPA thanks the following organisa- tions and people for their contribution in producing The Bulletin: Ken Nichols Fairfax Media Anne Fussell Fiji Times Matthew Sharkady Goss International Associate Directors Editorial Robert Whitehead Fairfax Media Newspaper Publishers' Association Online charging is not necessarily an inevitable way to pro tability but it is a place to begin a long-term, game-changing strategy" " NEW chairman. New offices. And a new tabloid Business Section. It has been a busy few weeks at The Age, of Melbourne. e Staff are now moving into state-of- art offices that will be the home of Melbourne's broadsheet newspaper for the next 25 years. Journalists should be in the new location by December 14, and the commercial teams began moving in at the beginning of the month. Having toiled in what was known by many as the "brick bunker" at the "Warsaw end" of Melbourne's CBD, journalists might need to adjust to a new design that allows passers-by on the street to see into the editorial offices at night -- a public gallery to display in inner-workings of an edito- rial team on deadline. The $US100 million Media House is the most outstanding of all newspa- per offices in the region. All Fairfax Media's business will move to the offices on Collins St, including its magazines, the Victorian operations of the Australian Financial Review, Fairfax Digital, Fairfax Com w - munity Newspapers and radio sta- tions 3AW 693 and Magic1278. Media House, which took two years to build, has been leased back to Fair- fax for 25 years by builder Grocon. Outgoing chairman Ron Walker, who handed over his post to Roger Corbett just two days later, said he was proud to have been involved in the project "brick by brick". It is an architectural landmark for more reasons than dominating the Collins St entrance to Melbourne's thriving Docklands commercial and entertainment precinct. The build- ing stands on four steel pillars, put in place between live electric cables used for the city's train system. The building itself was constructed over the top of the rail lines and did not once disrupt services, and Mr Walker said this element of the r construction made Media House a unique achievement. During the project, not 30 minutes was lost to a workplace injury or in- dustrial action, he said. Media House has seven stories -- with the radio stations taking the top floor. Designers have allowed for 1239 workstations. It has only 109 bike racks but maybe that is because the building is next door to the Spencer St train station -- a major transportation hub. In terms of green credentials, Me- dia House has a 5-star rating. Fairfax will reduce its carbon emissions from its offices by 36 percent, cutting the electricity bill by a third. It was opened by the Premier of Victoria, John Brumby. Modern edifice heralds an age of change It's got the boss's thumbs up . . . outgoing chairman Ron Walker inspects the new $US100 million Media House in central Melbourne, Victoria Photo courtesy of The Age Watch a time-lapse video of the new offices being constructed on your mobile device by scanning the code above We look back on a tough, eventful What a year! 11,14 Why we keep getting products and brand mixed up Funny about the future 23