Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood was a guest on Mediaweek TV on Sky News Business yesterday.
Speaking with the channel’s Nadine Blayney and Mediaweek’s James Manning, Hywood again noted the company is reshaping its publishing model to preserve high-quality journalism. “We are making sure the businesses are robust to be able to continue to invest in the sort of journalism we saw today.” Hywood was referring to a “bribery factory” story published on Thursday.
When asked if the company needed more journalists than it used to have in the past because the company’s website published content across more categories than ever before, Hywood said: “The story count – the number of stories we did each day – was much the same with a smaller number of staff. What we do now is cover a lot more mediums and our journalists work very hard. But because the internet provides instant feedback about what people are reading we are much more capable of shaping the content to the readers’ interests. What we have found is that we have a long tail of stories we write that doesn’t get a lot of interest. We can reduce the numbers of stories that people don’t read so we can focus on the areas where people are most-focused and most-interested.”
Hywood explained that it hadn’t had discussions about merging or partnering with any of Australia’s free-to-air networks. When asked about investors coming from other sectors, Hywood replied: “There are always people coming to you with propositions – sometimes they are good, sometimes they are poor. In the terms of a complete tie-up with another organisation, that hasn’t been the case, but there are always merger and acquisition opportunities which we look at.
“It is important to understand that Fairfax has nearly double the market capitalisation of the Nine Network and Seven West Media. We are a very successful media company. What we have to do is make sure its publishing business stands on its own two feet. Every part of the business has to do well.”