Fairfax is “confident” in the move to changeup its weekend editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to a more compact size.
“While the shape of The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Age weekend editions will change to a more convenient format, our commitment to quality, independent journalism and providing our readers with a depth of content, will not change,” Allen Williams, Fairfax Media’s Australian publishing media managing director, said.
Apart from the size of the newspapers, the weekend editions will see a few other changes within itself.
The Saturday sport liftout will find a new home at the back of the newspapers where the other liftouts (Domain, Business and MyCareer) will remain the same.
Both the SMH and The Age will now be colour coded to aid reader navigation and the Good Weekend magazine will be redesigned slightly to read ‘Good Weekend’ instead of the former GW logo.
In the SMH PS Private Sydney will move to a double spread at the back of the main newspaper after the news section where it will be joined by Column 8.
The Age’s Life&Style section will also undergo a transformation, relaunching as Spectrum, Fairfax’s national entertainment and lifestyle brand.
In terms of the Sunday editions, The Sunday Age will feature a brand new design for its compact general news section as well as a redesign of the masthead logo.
M Magazine, focusing on Melbourne life, art and culture, will remain after undergoing a complete redesign.
The back page of the newspaper and social pages will now come under the banner of Metro.
The Sunday edition will also feature new sections such as “My Place” where readers share their secret inspiring places, and “The Sunday Explainer” that dissects some of the news stories of that week
“This is about the continued evolution of our products to meet reader expectations and we are very pleased with the look and content of the new compact weekend edition,” Darren Goodsir, The Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief, said.
“Our Monday to Friday compact editions have received a lot of positive reader feedback, with many readers actually expecting the change for many years. So we are confident, as long as we still continue to produce our quality, independent journalism, we will still appeal to our readers.”
Following extensive research into consumer insights over the weekends, conducted by GFK in September last year, the research found six key insights that prompted the changeup to the newspapers.
According to the release, the six key insights are:
Weekend reading is about relaxing and is the second most popular weekend activity of our readers (74%), just behind the internet and ahead of watching television
• Weekends provide the opportunity to communicate deeper information with readers, because they have a more open mindset and have the time to learn
• There is a strong emotional attachment to and engagement with Fairfax Media’s weekend papers, with seven in 10 people agreeing that if they miss reading The Sydney
Morning Herald or The Age they feel like ‘something is missing from their weekend’
• 70% of weekend readers say they are thinking about holidays/travel, events/shows and new furniture, whitegoods and cars, giving advertisers the opportunity to influence consumers in the early stages of purchase decision making
• More than eight in 10 people read at least some part of their weekend newspaper before midday giving advertisers the opportunity to use weekend papers to drive in-store traffic or other immediate action over the weekend
• Weekends are when readers are most likely to make purchases such as furniture, whitegoods, hobby and leisure equipment and cars.