Sydney, Australia, May 28 (efe-epa).- Media group News Corp on Thursday announced that the bulk of its regional and community newspapers in Australia will move to digital-only format from due to a sharp fall in print media advertising amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 the recent COVID-19 lockdowns, print advertising spending which contributes the majority of our revenues, has accelerated its decline,” Executive Chairman of News Corp Australasia Michael Miller said in a statement on Thursday.
News Corp’s digital subscriber figures stood at 640,000 people, mainly seeking local news, with an annual digital subscription growth rate of 24 percent, he added.
From June 29, News Corp will publish a total of 92 digital-only regional and community mastheads in Australia, including 16 online editions created in the last 19 months, and will retain seven major regional titles in print as well as digital format.
Over half of these dailies had stopped their print editions in April because of the coronavirus epidemic.
“More than 375 journalists will be specifically covering regional and community news and information. They will continue to serve, and live in, their local communities with the majority in regional Queensland where we have most of our titles,” Miller said, adding there would be “job losses” without saying how many.
“They have provided News with invaluable years of service. Their passionate commitment to the communities in which they live and work and their role in ensuring these have been informed and served by trusted local media has been substantial,” he said of those who will be made redundant.
Its main newspapers such as The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Advertiser will “now become more state focused with increased regional content.”
News Corp’s decision comes after Buzzfeed announced shutting down its operations in Australia, and Network 10 announced it would close its 10 Daily website.
Australian newspapers, as many of others across the world, are undergoing a crisis due to lack of advertising in print and for years have been pushing for digital multimedia versions. EFE-EPA