Catalano 'still looking' at opportunities in print and digital

Australian Community Media is still in the market for print newspapers after News Corp opted out of talks to sell a cluster of its own mastheads.

In an interview with Lilly Vitorovich of The Australian, ACM proprietor Antony Catalano said the group - acquired from Nine Entertainment a year ago for $125 million - was still looking at growth opportunities within digital and print.

"We continue to have a look at potentially any print acquisitions if they're attractive," he told the News Corp daily.

While recent weeks had been challenging, he said ACM had "actually grown a number of titles since the acquisition".

There were "early signs of improvement" as restrictions are lifted, the scale of these dependent on restrictions in different states. ACM's primary interests - the former Fairfax Media regional titles - are mostly in Victoria, NSW and South Australia, and include the Canberra Times in ACT.

Catalano told Vitorovich ACM was reviewing the titles it suspended in April, and said it was "our hope and our intention" to bring back as many as possible, with temporary suspension of printing in Canberra, Murray Bridge, Wodonga and Tamworth still due to end on June 29, the day News Corp Australia has set for most of its regional print closures. Like News, he says, ACM is continuing to explore digital opportunities.

In its comments, a reader of The Australian makes the point already raised on GXpress - that the Sunshine Coast, Australia's ninth-largest city with a population of 340,000, will become the only one in the 'top ten' without a printed newspaper. "Seems like a bit of an opportunity there," they add.

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