News Corp to suspend 60 community print publications

News Corp to suspend 60 community print publications

A rapid decline in advertising revenue has forced News Corp to suspend 60 community titles in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia as of 9 April.

In an announcement yesterday the company said community mastheads would continue to publish digitally, with reporters and photographers expanding News Corp's hyper-local news coverage for consumers across Australia.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the decision to suspend printing of its community newspapers was not taken lightly.

"The suspension of our community print editions has been forced on us by the rapid decline in advertising revenues following the restrictions placed on real estate auctions and home inspections, the forced closure of event venues and dine-in restaurants in the wake of the Coronavirus emergency,' he said.

Miller noted as consumers increasingly turned to digital for local news, News would be increasing and developing its community coverage.

He said the impact on community print titles came on top of the toll on media from the refusal of digital platforms to pay publishers to use their content.

For now, the group's top priority is to preserve jobs and best position itself to counter the crisis.

"During this unprecedented time it is imperative that we reduce costs while continuing to keep the community informed and doing all we can to retain jobs," he said.

"The print suspension will allow us to assess the shape of the market itself and future conditions, taking into account how the Coronavirus situation unfolds in the coming period."

The announcement follows Elliott Newspaper Group's decision last week to suspend its traditional newspaper publishing in Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang in response to the pandemic, as reported by the Sunraysia Daily - one of the mastheads affected along with Sunraysia Life, The Guardian - Swan Hill, Gannawarra Times and Loddon Times.

Elsewhere, News Corp's parent company in the States has reached a deal to sell its News America Marketing business to Charlesbank Capital Partners for US$235 million.

Updated at 11:14am AEDT on 1 April 2020.

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