THE much-awaited News Limited restructure includes streamlining state operations, integrating digital across all operations, a new multi-platform publishing system, and acquiring Australian Independent Business Media.
Constructive changes were necessary to transform News Ltd into a “multi-platform powerhouse,” chief executive Kim Williams today told staff via video.
But rumours of redundancies between 400 and 1000 were neither confirmed or denied.
“At this stage we cannot say how many roles will be made redundant as full details will be resolved with the implementation,” said Mr Williams.
“Although there will be retrenchments, many roles will be retired through natural attrition.
“Open communication with our workforce will be maintained throughout this period of significant change.”
The company will centralise geographically by establishing three new divisions housing metropolitan, regional, and community operations in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
This will streamline management, editorial, advertising, sales, and marketing.
Similar centralisation will occur in other states after the three initial structures are settled.
The Australian and NewsLifeMedia will continue to operate as national divisions.
“These state-based and national divisions will be enabled to provide great journalism to our customers. We will provide the best local stories and national stories from across our entire network. We will continue to lead in breaking stories, filing exclusives and provoking debate and change through our high quality commentary and opinion pieces,” said Mr Williams.
“The new operating model is designed to empower staff to work smarter and faster. We will up-skill our central functions and eliminate wasteful duplication.
“The new model addresses areas where we have skill shortages and are duplicating functions. We will hire new people where required, but regrettably some roles will become redundant.”
The company’s digital arm; News Digital Media, will now be integrated across all operations and a new Product Innovation team will be created.
Mr Williams said digital technology was an important core to the company’s future.
“Those resources – people and technology – must be integrated across our editorial product development and execution to be truly successful. Therefore we will no longer run News Digital Media as a separate operating division, but instead embed the knowledge, energy, resources and talent of our digital experts into every part of News.
“The Product Innovation team will be a tightly focussed operation with a fresh, direct, non-bureaucratic approach. They will ensure a steady product roadmap for building revenue generating products focussed on consumer needs and aspirations.”
The company will also invest $60 million in a new publishing platform.
“The investment in Methode plays a foundation stone role in engaging our customers. It will allow us to create once and publish many times across every platform our customers use – print, online, tablet, mobile, smart devices, and broadcast.
“We have confidence in all the forms of media that Methode will serve, enabling our journalists to produce great material efficiently.”
The company’s takeover of AIBM – publisher of website Business Spectator and newsletter the Eureka Report – was also confirmed.
“In just five years AIBM has become Australia’s number one pure online business and investment publisher, eclipsing its nearest rival just a couple of weeks ago. Its success has come from creating a high value digital product that delivers, in spades, what its audience wants,” said Mr Williams.
“This model of building and acquiring businesses, and partnering with our sister companies, is one we will pursue in other editorial arenas as we transform our operations.
“Our existing strengths, combined with the range of initiatives announced today and others over time will ensure News maintains its leadership position for consumers and advertisers across the range of media products that are central to contemporary life.”
Mr Williams concluded saying print was not dead and the company has confidence in all its platforms.
“The future might be tough but it is exciting and liberating in terms of there never having been more ways to connect with consumers to meet their needs. We welcome the challenge enthusiastically.”
Rival publisher Fairfax Media this week announced its own restructure including 1,900 job-cuts, the switching of Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to broad-sheet, a partial website pay wall, and the closure of two print plants.