New Fairfax chairman outlines growth strategy

Fairfax Media LogoFairfax Media has reported a two to three per cent increase in overall group revenues for continuing businesses for the 2016 financial year to date, as new chairman Nick Falloon stressed the need for media law reform.

Addressing his first annual general meeting as chairman yesterday, Mr Falloon outlined Fairfax Media’s three-prong strategy to optimise its core strengths: growing core businesses and investing in major growth areas like Domain Group, continuing to transform its business “on the print to digital journey”, and investing in new growth verticals.

As of November 2015, Fairfax Media reported a revenue increase of 10 per cent for Metro Media, which includes a 68 per cent increase in overall revenue for real estate business Domain, but a 9 per cent drop in publishing revenue.

Revenue for its Australian Community Media network is down 11 per cent, revenue for New Zealand is down nine per cent but Macquarie Radio is up around 56 per cent on a continuing basis, which excludes 96FM which was sold in January this year.

Mr Falloon also used the AGM to broach changes to the restrictive reach rule and two-out-of-three ownership rule, saying the laws failed to meet the needs of the industry or community.

‘The reality is that those old media rules advantage our overseas-based competitors at the expense of Australian-owned media’ – Nick Falloon

“(Current legislation) is hindering the development of modern media for Australian consumers and has the potential to greatly restrict the quality of content that flows to them in the future,” Mr Falloon said.

“Fairfax is strongly advocating for modernising media ownership laws. The reality is that those old media rules advantage our overseas-based competitors at the expense of Australian-owned media,” Mr Falloon said.

“Australian media companies are facing significant challenges, both global and technological, and they need to be free to compete on an even playing field.”

Fairfax Media chairman Nick Falloon addresses shareholders at the company's 2015 Annual General Meeting.

Fairfax Media chairman Nick Falloon addresses shareholders at the company’s 2015 Annual General Meeting.

Mr Falloon also said the 12 month on-market buy-back of up to five per cent of Fairfax shares announced in February was about 80 per cent complete

Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood told the AGM the company was putting dedicated focus, attention and resources into “growth engines” including real estate business Domain Group, Life Media & Events and digital ventures including its streaming service, Stan, a joint venture with Nine Entertainment Co.

“As we continue the transformation of this great company, we are confident in our business model and strategy – a strategy which translates quality, independent journalism into value for shareholders,” Mr Hywood said.

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