News Corp Australia leaked accounts show 1,000 jobs cut across mastheads
Major leak of confidential operating accounts reveal extent of losses with the Australian losing about $30m a year
The financial health of News Corp Australia’s newspapers has been laid bare by a leak of its confidential operating accounts, which reveal the extent of the Australian losses and that the company has quietly shed more than 1,000 staff.
Earlier this month it was revealed that News Corporation’s full-year
profit was more than halved as revenue from its Australian newspapers
continued to slide.
But the leak gives far more detail about the picture across the mastheads.
The accounts also confirm the worst performing paper is the national
daily broadsheet the Australian, which is losing about $30m a year, and
the best performing publication is the Herald Sun in Melbourne.
The Herald Sun generated revenues of $250m in 2012-13, down 13.5% on the year before, and operating income of $35m, down 41%.
In contrast, the Australian’s revenues dropped 20% from $135m to
$108m in 2012-13 and the masthead’s operating loss fell to $30m.
The report was criticised by News Corp chief executive Julian Clarke, who assured staff the “illegally circulated” accounts published by Crikey did not reflect the company’s current performance.
But they do contain more detail than News has been willing to share
with staff or the market in recent years, including that advertising
revenue fell 33% from $87m to $58m.
In 2012 when Fairfax Media was upfront about shedding 1,900 staff,
News Corp, then under Kim Williams, refused to give the total numbers of
staff that would be made redundant when the company was restructured.
But the leaked documents show that the losses at News cut just as
deep, with one in eight jobs disappearing. Hundreds of journalists,
photographers and editors were laid off in 2012.
The Australian lost 54 staff, the Daily Telegraph 167, the Courier
Mail 295, the Herald Sun 241and the Adelaide Advertiser 195. It was not
clear what the breakdown was between journalists, photographers and
The staff on the national broadsheet appear to be far better paid
than their colleagues on the tabloids despite the paper not pulling its
weight financially. The average wage per employee for the Australian was
$174,000, according to the documents, while the average Brisbane
employee, presumably from The Courier Mail, got $125,000.
Revenue for the Sunday Herald Sun paper fell 17% to $75m, while operating income fell 31% to $21m.
The Courier-Mail suffered dramatic losses, with revenue dropping 18%
to $158 million while operating income fell 68% to just $17 million. The
documents also show that the paper lost 295 staff, the highest number
of all the mastheads.
Revenue at the Daily Telegraph in Sydney fell 14% to $160m while operating income fell 65% to just $8 million.
The Sunday Telegraph revenues fell 15% to $94 million and operating income fell 53% to $7m.
Crikey’s business editor Paddy Manning said the accounts raised the
question of “how long the rest of the News Corp empire can carry the
under-performing Australian newspapers business”.
The figures were sourced from a copy of the last weekly financial
statements for 2012-13, which provide line-by-line, year-on-year
comparisons across the business, according to Crikey.