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Panpa Bulletin : May 2007
12 PANPA Bulletin May 2007 news West Australian Newspapers Holdings (WAN) expects the demand for advertising which helped it achieve a near-20 per cent jump in third-quarter earnings to continue. Normalised net profit for the nine months to March 31 was $93.7 million. Confirming his view that the strong trad- ing condition in Australia's boom state will continue, managing director Ken Steinke revealed that for the first four weeks of the June quarter advertising revenue in the flagship, The West Australian, had been 11 per cent above the corresponding period last year. "All the things we are being told about the economy suggest it's going to be a pretty buoyant place to be for at least the next cou- ple of years," Steinke said. Compounding the good news on the trading front is the steady progress being with the major production upgrade to WAN's Herdsman press facility and in the development of the online publishing site since it was launched in October. WAN is on target to have the upgraded press facility, which is costing $200 mil- lion, operational for the new financial year, while the news site, thewest.com. au, has "established itself as Western Australia's number one news portal". The first six towers of Herdsman's new double-width Colora cold-set press were in- stalled and operating in March; the second six towers in April and the third set was due to be in place by the end of May. The cold-set component of the Comet press has been operational since March, while the heat-set component printed its first product in April. Steinke said WAN expects to achieve optimum output from the new equipment within three to six months, clearing the way for major improvements to The West Australian. This includes a new Saturday magazine, a new travel lift-out and the capability to print colour on every page. Revenue from the flagship rose 14.5 per cent to $263.9 million. This included a 16.4 per cent lift in advertising revenue to $198.5 million and an 8.9 per cent lift in circulation revenue. Over the nine months, there was an 8.1 per cent increase in advertising volumes and a 4.9 per cent increase in the average advertising rate per column centimetre -- an increase higher than the rate card increase because of the mix favouring higher-yield sectors, such as Professional Appointments. Total display revenue increased 10.5 per cent with national display increasing 17.7 per cent and local display increas- ing 7.2 per cent. Total classifieds revenue increased by 13.9 per cent with employ- ment up by 21.2 per cent and real estate by 21.4 per cent. The lift in circulation revenue resulted from an increase of 20 cents to $2.20 in the cover price of the Saturday edition in February last year, and a 10 cent hike to $1.20 in the cover price of weekday issues in September, 2006. Weekday circulation is only slightly below the corresponding period last year. Saturday sales fell are down about two per cent. Because it is the state's only major daily newspaper, The West Australian has not had to revert to the heavy dis- counting strategies adopted by eastern states publishers to build their home delivery bases. Western Australia's economic boom is also helping boost the profitability of WAN's regional publications. "Very strong results" were achieved in Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Albany, leading the regional division to a 25 per cent increase in EBIT to $6.3 mil- lion, achieved on a 12 per cent increase in revenue to $32 million. End of an era The chairman and chief execu- tive of News Limited, Mr John Hartigan, recently announced the retirement of two of the company's longest-serving senior executives, Mr Warren Beeby and Mr Malcolm Colless. Both started as cadet journalists on The Daily Mirror, in Sydney, in the early 1960s and made successful transitions into management roles. Both will retire on July 1, 2007. Mr Beeby has been News Limited's group editorial manager since 1990 and Mr Colless, director, corporate develop- ment since 1991. Mr Beeby's roles have included busi- ness editor of The Sunday Australian, finance editor of The Sunday Telegraph and later production editor, deputy editor and then editor of The Australian. He also worked as a foreign cor- respondent for The Australian in New York and London, was News Limited's bureau chief in Canberra and later The Australian's chief political correspondent. He became editorial manager of Mirror Australian Telegraph publications in 1982 before moving into his current role. Since 1990 Mr Beeby also has been a director of a number of News Limited subsidiary and associate companies, including Nationwide News, Newspoll and AAP. Mr Beeby has been a member of the Australian Press Council since 1988, chair- man of the Commonwealth Press Union since 1996, a director PANPA since 2004 and its vice-president since last year. Since 1999, he has been chairman of Copyco Pty Ltd. Mr Colless began his career in 1962 on The Daily Mirror as journalist. In 1969 he joined The Times in London, returning to Australia in 1972 to work on The Australian. He was appointed The Australian's chief political correspondent in Canberra in 1977. In 1981, he became general manager of Tamworth Newspaper Co Ltd. After as- sisting senior management at The News, in Adelaide in 1983, Mr Colless returned to Sydney the following year and took up a similar role at Channel 10. In 1985, Mr Colless went to China to set up a bureau for The Australian. In the mid-1990s, he was part of the team that established an online joint-venture between News and The People's Daily in Beijing. In 1987, he was appoint- ed managing director of News Limited com- munity newspaper business. In 1988, Mr Colless was appointed man- aging director of HWT. Mr Colless is the longest serving director of News Limited. The Booming West By Jack Beverely Warren Beeby Malcolm Colless