Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Australasian media group APN to beef up its online news

Australasian media group APN is to beef up its online operation to match what it called "shifting consumer needs" for its services.

The company, which is part owned by Independent News & Media, will focus on developing "digital first" daily news services supported by some print editions in a move it says will "give readers constant access to breaking local news and free, or low-cost, print products tailored to the local market".



The concentration on web-based services will initially effect part of the Gold Coast along the east coast of Australia, where the New South Wales-based 'Tweed Daily News' will be scaled back to a weekly title and the price of its Saturday edition cut. Further down the New South Wales coast, the company will stop publishing the paid editions of the 'Coffs Coast Advocate' but will retain its twice weekly free editions.



APN Australian regional media chief executive Warren Bright said the company was determined to evolve its business model to reflect changing client and consumer needs.



"In both of these markets, although the audience for paid daily newspapers has been declining for some time there remains very strong demand from both advertisers and the community for newspapers delivered less often to a large number of homes." he said.



"We also have strong digital audiences in each market so it makes sense to combine a constantly updated digital news service with this modified print offering.



"This model will give our clients access to a vast local audience across multiple platforms and ensures that the news and information needs of local residents continue to be served."



While the loss of print publications on some days was unfortunate, Mr Bright added that the media landscape was clearly changing and companies had to be prepared to change with it. There are no plans to extend this model beyond Tweed and Coffs Harbour.



Elsewhere in the region, the company said 'The Gold Coast Mail' and 'Robina Mail' will close at the end of this year, with much of the daily news being provided online, via email alerts and mobiles.



Some 35 jobs will go as part of the moves, which are set to come into effect in the second week of December.



APN runs a number of newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, including the best selling 'New Zealand Herald'. It also has a string of radio stations and a significant advertising business.



The company also played down speculation regarding its outdoor business, after reports that a sale of 50pc of APN Outdoor could raise AUD$200m.



"From time to time members of the APN board and management have discussions with interested parties regarding possible transactions involving APN's assets," the company said.



"[APN] is involved in a process of best determining how the company can expand the outdoor operations."



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