Canberra, May 28 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has decided to end publication of dozens of newspapers in Australia, and print edition of over 100 other regional and community publications as part of a major restructuring amid Covid-19 pandemic.
News Corp, which owns popular tabloids like The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun, said on Wednesday the move “will mean some job roles will change and, regretfully, will lead to job losses.”
The publisher, however, didn’t disclose how many people will lose job.
“Covid-19 has impacted News Corp shuts dozens of newspapers in Australia (Lead)
the sustainability of community and regional publishing,” News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller said in a statement.
Miller said print advertising contributed maximum to the company’s revenue, but in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic revenue from this channel had significantly dried up.
“Despite the audiences of News Corp’s digital mastheads growing more than 60 per cent as Australians turned to trusted media sources during the peak of Covid-19 lockdowns, print advertising spending that contributes the majority of our revenues has accelerated its decline,” he said.
As a result of the changes, the bulk of News Corp’s regional and community titles would move to purely digital publishing from June 29, he said.
“More than 640,000 Australians, our latest figures show, are subscribing to News Corp’s digital news content and subscriptions are growing at an annual rate of 24 per cent,” Miller said.
“Much of this growth is from local news, where subscribers have more than doubled in one year. In regional Queensland, more than 80,000 people have digital subscriptions and this number has grown by more than 40 per cent this year,” he said.
News Corp, one of the biggest publishers in Australia, said local journalism coverage of their area would continue even for those print newspapers that were being shut down.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), union for Australia’s journalists, on Thursday said the closure of mastheads and job losses announced by News Corp Australia represented a huge loss for communities in regional and suburban Australia.
“The closure of so many mastheads represents an immense blow to local communities and, coming off the back of hundreds of previous regional closures during this period, it underlines the seriousness of the crisis facing regional and local journalism,” MEAA Chief Executive Paul Murphy said.
“We are determined to see proper consultation and fair treatment for any affected staff.”
The decline in advertising revenue due to Covid-19, especially in the print editions, has affected most publications across the world.