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Bill Bennett


Fairfax to go digital-only

Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood says the media company will move to a digital-only model.

Hywood doesn’t put a date on it but says the move will be in the future and only if print becomes unprofitable.

This makes perfect sense even if there’s little evidence of other newspaper publishers making a successful move to digital. Media companies have little choice, either shrink to a digital core and hope the mastheads continue to carry weight, or hang around for the inevitable day when the presses stop running.

Of course, anyone reading this site will have known that was true a decade ago.

Hywood says Fairfax’s digital strategy is ahead of the company’s competitors and ahead of most traditional media companies around the world. He is only part right. Fairfax’s most serious competition comes from media companies that were born digital.

Speaking of businesses born digital, I wonder about Fairfax’s strategy in the light of its part sale of the TradeMe auction site. If I was in Hywood’s shoes TradeMe would sit at the core of my business. By now there would an Australian TradeMe. And I’d junk those crappy low-value Google ads on Fairfax sites and link to TradeMe auctions instead.

AdNews: Fairfax will shift to digital-only model.



8 thoughts on “Fairfax to go digital-only

  1. Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood said the media company will move to a digital-only model, but only if print becomes unprofitable. He also said he gives print between three and 15 years.

    This means: Fairfax will move to digital only. Could be in three years, could be in 15.

    1. Well, there is the question of how Fairfax will make digital profitable. Currently its print products in regional Australia and NZ are 100% of profit (aside from TradeMe, which they have clearly decided to sell to pay down debt).
      If you were looking at this as a race, one horse is digital, one is print and the third is debt. I’m backing the debt.

  2. Sure, in the strict sense of the word. But the news would be “news” if it was “Fairfax to go digital-only next month/next year”…

    1. Possibly. I’m not saying you’re wrong.

      Alternatively you could read it as: Hywood and Fairfax now accept the inevitable switch to digital only.

      That’s news.

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