On top of promising EMMA readership figures today, News Corp has confirmed its commitment to its print products amid ongoing speculation that rival Fairfax will soon stop printing the weekday editions of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Speaking to B&T, News’ CMO Damian Eales said that print sales had “stabilised” and its business had become so digitally diversified it was plain wrong to call the publishers newspaper businesses.
“It’s not an accurate representation of our business,” Eales said. “Our business has at its heart content generation and journalism of the highest level. Our focus is very much on publishing that quality journalism whichever platform the reader wishes to consume it.”
Eales’ comments mirror those of News Corp’s CEO Robert Thomson who was quoted in today’s The Australian as saying print was invaluable in these uncertain times for providing readers with quality and analyses.
“The rapid pace at which the contemporary world is turning with attendant economic and social upheaval has put a premium on premium content,” he reportedly told News staff yesterday.
Thomson acknowledged that a number of new digital players had entered the market and were trying to snare News’ readers. However, he thought the quality of some of them were dubious describing it as “a vast cauldron of crap”.
Eales likened the news business to another News-owned business, the book publisher Harper Collins. “I think newspapers and books have an interesting parallel. The book industry has undergone enormous transformation and many people said the printed book wouldn’t survive. But Australia, like a lot of many many markets, has basically stabilised now, digital books represent about 20 per cent of the mix and it’s no longer really challenging the print copies. All medias will have a place but it’s just not going to be one or the other. There’s going to be lots of combinations.”