News adds Sky programme to ag-business expansion

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News Corp is upping the ante in its competition for Australia's $60 billion rural media market with extended print editions and a dedicated TV programme.

The publisher is combining its rural newspapers and websites into a new division, News Corp Rural, which will unite the Weekly Times, Tasmanian Country and Rural Weekly, and will launch a live agribusiness programme with Sky News.

First of the half-hour The Ag Show programmes airs on Thursday, February 1, at 6.30pm AEDT. It will be presented by staffers Ed Gannon and Nicola Bell with a weekly panel of experts.

Gannon, who is also the show's editorial director, says the agriculture sector grew by 23 per cent in 2016-17, the largest of any of Australia's 19 industries. "Creation of News Corp Rural will improve cross-platform sales by enabling clients to tap into the company's full suite of print and digital resources."

Tasmanian Country will continue as free posted edition, and the footprint of Rural Weekly will increase with the introduction of an expanded Northern NSW edition available south to Tamworth. Insertion of Rural Weekly into Friday editions of NT News has already started.

Pictured: Ed Gannon and Nicola Bell

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