Murdoch: No more print buys as stable 'struggles'

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After adding APN's Australian regionals to his stable last year, News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch has ruled out further print acquisitions, saying most of its existing mastheads are struggling.

At the group's annual meeting in Los Angeles, Murdoch mentioned

The Australian, the Wall Street Journal and The Times in London as their "three big successes", adding that while many of the group's other papers were very viable, "they are struggling".

On the NewsMediaWorks website this week, News' executive general manager of Queensland and NT regionals Simon Irwin said the model on which the regional newspapers is based was "not broken".

News paid $36.6 million for the APN regional newspapers - including the Sunshine Coast Daily, Gympie Times, Toowoomba's The Chronicle and the Daily Examiner in Grafton - in a deal described as "the biggest Australian media merger in 32 years".

He said the expanded News Regional Media business was "really on track and bodes really well for the future of regional newspapers".

In Los Angeles, Rupert Murdoch said the global newspaper business was suffering. "Our hands are pretty full making our existing papers viable," he said.

Digital advertising had been tremendously damaging to print, and some newspapers may need to be reviewed. "So far I think we have done pretty well in replacing lost advertising revenue in the major papers, but it continues to be a big problem," he said.

But he added that News recognised the power of its own audiences "and the importance of our own quality journalism".

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