LAST CALL FOR MX AS AFTERNOON NEWSPAPER EXPERIMENT FLOPS

LAST CALL FOR MX AS AFTERNOON NEWSPAPER EXPERIMENT FLOPS

NEWS Corp Australia's bold experiment to bring back the afternoon newspaper has flopped, with the media giant announcing the closure of its mX newspaper operations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The mX publications were aimed at the afternoon commuter market, offering light news in a brief format that was designed to recapture an afternoon newspaper readership that died in Australia almost three decades ago.

"The decision is a reflection of the changing reading habits of commuters who now turn to their mobile phones and tablets on their way to and from work," says a News Corp spokesman in a statement.

"News will continue to invest in our extensive suite of print and digital products, which are purchased and read by millions of Australians every day."

The company is understood to have announced the closure to staff on Thursday after a round of redundancies were implemented in the division two months ago.

It is unclear how many jobs will go following the announcement, although the division employed about 30 staff.

Brisbane saw its first mX in 2007, after the publication was initially rolled out in Sydney in 2001 and later in Melbourne.

Circulation figures show a sharp drop in distribution of mX in Brisbane and Sydney over the past year, while Melbourne's figures were up.

According to Roy Morgan Research, readership of mX in the 12 months to March in Sydney were down 47,000 to 106,000, while in Brisbane they fell 13,000 to 41,000. In Melbourne, readership rose 7000 to 141,000 over the past year.

The final editions of mX are expected to be published on June 12.

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