*Pic: Ice fall ... Mercury’s new offices in the old Antarctic Centre in Salamanca. Mercury pic
In a bid to slow the rapid fall in profitability of The Mercury, News Corporation Australia has increased the cover price by 10 cents from today.
However, even with the price increase The Mercury’s finances are likely to be under extreme pressure.
Leaked internal News Corporation Australia accounts for the year to June 30, 2013 revealed that just over 10.1 million copies of The Mercury were sold. The Mercury’s operating income – the profit left after all expenses and deprecation are accounted for – plummeted by $6.5 million in that year to just over $8 million.
The latest price increase, however, may only increase revenue by approximately $1 million.
Since June 2013 and September 2014 the circulation of The Mercury has fallen by approximately 15 per cent. (September 2014 is the most recent data available from the Audited Media Association of Australia, which tracks newspaper circulation.)
News Corporation Australia has also increased the cover price of all its other daily newspapers by 10 cents a copy. In November 2014 the cover price of the Sunday Tasmanian was increased by 30 cents to $2.50.
• See also Bob Burton’s The fall and fall of The Mercury in Tasmanian Times, December 18, 2014.
• Guardian: Local newspaper staff face massive job losses Fairfax Media’s regional publishing business, Australian Community Media, is rolling out its NewsNow plan which involves stripping regional papers like the Illawarra Mercury, the Warrnambool Standard and the Newcastle Herald of subeditors and photographers and centralising production. Reporters have to take their own pictures and sub their own copy. The Weekly Beast has seen a timeline for the NewsNow roll-out which will be completed across the country ( Examiner? Advocate? ) by December 2015. The new system involves a template-based, “write to the space” editorial model in which reporters sub, caption and headline their own stories. One source called it a “systematic gutting of regional newsrooms” which would take hundreds of jobs.