The year ahead for Australia’s newspapers is shaping up to be a banner year for the country’s newspapers, with major changes in the publishing industry looming and newspapers in the spotlight.
The country’s biggest four newspapers — The Australian, The Age, The Drum, The Australian Financial Review and The Courier Mail — are all set to publish big titles, with the Age setting its sights on becoming the dominant newspaper in Australia for a third year in a row.
The Financial Review is poised to become the third biggest newspaper in the country, with its chief executive stepping down after three years on the job.
And The Courier-Mail has set its sights firmly on the coveted coveted top spot in the Australian print market with plans to spend heavily in 2018 to attract the best editors and writers to its flagship publication.
The Daily Telegraph, which is one of the biggest newspapers in Australia, will also publish big stories in the coming year, with owner News Corp chief executive Stephen Ross set to be replaced this month.
News Corp chairman Greg O’Brien has also been given a mandate to push News Corp News Corp Australia into a higher tier of ownership, with News Corp CEO James Packer expected to take the reins as chief executive of the new entity.
The next step in News Corp’s turnaround comes as News Corp announced it was buying rival Fairfax Media for $3.2 billion in cash.
It’s also set to take a significant investment in new technology and new ways of publishing.
News of the acquisition comes just days after the Australian Taxation Office published its final annual report for the financial year, showing the agency lost $3 billion in the three months to June 2019, the first drop since 2013.
It will likely make a big difference in how the Australian taxpayer is able to understand the impact of the news.
And the new company has already announced plans to boost its digital media presence and has launched a digital news portal.
News Media CEO Andrew Bolt will step down this month, following a five-year tenure at News Corp. Bolt’s time as chief of the News Corporation Media Group will be the longest tenure of any News Corp executive in Australia’s history.
And as a result of the takeover, Bolt will be stepping down as News Corporation’s chief executive, meaning he will not hold any of News Corp shares.
But the acquisition also brings with it an increased focus on digital content.
In 2019, News Corp will be looking to build a digital presence across the whole of its digital platforms, with a focus on its newspapers, digital products and services, social media and digital content for its audiences.
It plans to roll out its news portal in 2020.
And it has been reported that the company will be ramping up its content offerings to better engage with its audiences online, as it moves towards a “digital-first” approach.
News will also begin a push into the TV space in 2019, with plans for a new digital TV platform being announced in 2020, as well as plans to invest heavily in its Australian television channels.
The company will also continue to invest in online news and news-making platforms in 2020 as well, with it set to launch a new content portal and the launch of a new Australian newspaper and digital news platform in 2020 too.
And with the new acquisition, News will have an unprecedented amount of resources at its disposal.
In fact, the company is expected to spend $6 billion in 2018, up from $4.5 billion in 2017.
As part of the deal, News Corporation will also buy Fairfax Media’s digital assets, with Rupert Murdoch owning 21st Century Fox.
Rupert Murdoch is also expected to become News Corp Media Group’s new CEO.
The purchase is expected close to the end of 2019.
The timing of News’s takeover of Fairfax Media is interesting, as the company has struggled financially this year, falling well short of the $8 billion that Rupert Murdoch’s media company made in the third quarter of 2018.
News was also hit by an anti-trust investigation that cost the company millions of dollars, with more than 1,300 lawsuits filed against it and its News Group Newspapers, including a number relating to News.
The Fairfax Media buyout will give News Corp an unprecedented and potentially massive amount of financial resources to boost the newspaper business.
While the deal is set to boost News Corp in the long term, there are also signs that the News business is about to take another major hit as the news business continues to struggle.
The latest figures from Australian Tax Office show that News Corp has lost $1.1 billion in profits, a sharp drop from the $2.5bn that News Group made in 2018.
In 2018, News Australia had a profit of $1,890 million, while News Corp had a loss of $3,836 million.