Publishing giants News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media have entered into agreements to share each other’s printing networks.
Under the agreements which will commence this month, News Corp will provide seven-day printing services to Fairfax in New South Wales and Queensland, while Fairfax will print some publications for News Corp out of its North Richmond plant.
Fairfax will transition work from its print centres in Beresfield (NSW) and Ormiston (Queensland). Once complete, those sites will close.
News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the arrangements demonstrate the company’s confidence in the future of printed newspapers and in the influence and impact of trusted newspaper journalism.
In addition, he said the arrangements with Fairfax Media provides benefits of scale and efficiency.
“As a publisher, we have absolute confidence in the ongoing significance of newspapers,” he said.
“Within this framework, we need to continue to look at the most effective and efficient ways to produce newspapers.
“This is a commercial deal which makes commercial sense by enabling better use of our existing print facilities.”
In addition to NSW and Queensland, Mr Miller said talks were continuing to develop further opportunities that ensure the competitiveness and viability of our mastheads.
He added that the arrangement has no cross-over or impact on content from either publisher, as it is a commercial print contract only.
Fairfax CEO and managing director Greg Hywood said: “The printing arrangements make the production of newspapers more efficient for both publishers.
“These are landmark initiatives. They demonstrate a rational approach to the complex issues facing the industry.
“Better utilisation of existing print assets makes sense and will deliver economic benefits to Fairfax Media.”
Hywood said the new agreements will deliver greater cost variabilisation, enabling Fairfax to produce newspapers well into the future.
“Our decision to rationalise some printing assets reduces capital intensity,” he said.
“We expect the combination of the new arrangements, and the changes to Fairfax’s printing network to result in an annualised full-year benefit of approximately $15 million. The financial benefits are expected to begin towards the end of FY19 H1.
“From today, we are consulting with staff at our printing centres affected by the new arrangements. Fairfax is committed to providing comprehensive assistance and support and will meet all our employment obligations.”