What the ‘devastating’ News Corp closures mean for the music biz
A shrinking media landscape will ultimately impact the music business.
Over 100 of News Corp’s regional and community titles will move from print to digital-only editions from June 29, resulting in hundreds of job losses.
News Corp also revealed today that 14 titles will cease publication altogether, after talks between the publisher and a competitor to take over some of the papers failed to bear fruit.
Major metro mastheads in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide will now become more state-focused, according to News Corp, with increased regional content.
Last month the Murdoch-owned empire temporarily suspended 60 community print titles, confirming today that only a small number will return to the market after the pandemic.
The affected mastheads have proved a lifeline to concert promoters and touring musicians over the years, one of the few ways to promote events in non-metro markets.
Australian music publicist Nicole Hart, who represents local and international musicians and music festivals, told TMN the closures are a “terrible loss” for both the media and music biz.
“It’s incredibly devastating for those individuals who are losing their jobs, and for touring musicians and performing artists, it means the loss of a valuable and supportive media partner.
“These papers have supported live gigs for years, giving artists the opportunity to promote their forthcoming shows to the local communities, be they suburban or regional locations.
“They have always given valuable editorial coverage to music,” Hart said.
The titles which will cease to exist completely include news brands across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, according to Mumbrella.
News Corp’s Australian executive chairman, Michael Miller, said a recent review of the company’s many media assets further highlighted consumers’ shift to online for news consumption.
“COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing,” he said, adding that the decline of advertising revenue for print had “accelerated” during the health crisis.
There are reports that up to 500 staffers will lose their jobs under the restructure, but Miller said more than 375 journalists will cover regional and community markets, mostly from Queensland.
News Corp isn’t the only media business forced to “restructure” during the COVID-19 crisis, with redundancies reported – and unreported – across a number of major outlets.