Sydney, June 18
Australian media giant Fairfax said Monday it will slash 1,900 jobs and erect paywalls on its flagship titles as part of a major overhaul as it works to address falling print advertising revenues.
As part of the plan, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age will shift from broadsheet format to a more compact size and two printing facilities will be shut.
"No one should be in any doubt that we are operating in very challenging times," said chief executive Greg Hywood.
"Readers’ behaviours have changed and will not change back.
"As a result, we are taking decisive actions to fundamentally change the way we do business."
Fairfax, which has newspaper, radio and digital interests, is the main rival in Australia to Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited.
Shares in the company have fallen nearly 85 percent in the past five years and management has come under pressure recently from the world’s richest woman and key shareholder Gina Rinehart, who demanded action.
Fairfax said it will introduce subscriptions for its Sydney Morning Herald and The Age websites in early 2013.
Print versions of those two mastheads will shrink to the size of its Australian Financial Review newspaper from March 4, 2013.
The job cuts will come over three years and together with the closure of printing facilities in Sydney and Melbourne will result in annual savings of Aus$235 million (US$238 million) from June 2014, the company said.