What’s up as News brings ‘the force’ to town

May 23, 2024 at 10:26 am by admin

Expect far-reaching impact as News Corp’s top brass home in on Sydney for talks on how to staunch bleeding from falling ad revenue and the loss of Meta’s cash.

Reports are that frequent visitor and now sole chairman Lachlan Murdoch, News UK boss Rebekah Brooks, and global chief Robert Thomson are in town to finalise plans for a major restructure of News’ Australian newspapers.

Metro mastheads are reported to be a focus, and it is unlikely that News’ print newspapers – and their corresponding plants – in remote locations such as Tasmania, north Queensland, and the NT will escape unscathed.

There’s an upside, however, with Thomson reporting a new deal with ChatGPT developer Open AI worth “hundreds of millions”, as the Microsoft company looks to learn from News’ content.

Speculation about the News Corp Australia restructure follows reports that consulting firm PwC had advised on streamlining the business and its management structure. However suggestions that News Australia would be split into three divisions – one for news.com.au, one for paywalled tabs, and a third for The Australian and prestige publications – seem to ignore the breadth of today’s business.

With the closure of ACM and other print sites around Australia’s east coast, News Corp – with plants in Darwin, Townsville, Yandina, Chullora, Truganina, Adelaide and Hobart – has become the nation’s newspaper printer. It will be interesting to see whether it wants to sustain that position.

As for the metro tabloids, who knows what could happen. Perhaps there’s an agenda behind sending Brooks over; supposing the otherwise-silent former co-chairman has hatched the possibilty of a short-term post for her? Time will tell.

Peter Coleman

Pictured: Lachlan Murdoch at last year’s News Awards

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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