Short shift for Sydney print titles as paywall grows

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Shorter page lengths are coming to News Corp Australia communities with 14 Sydney titles switching to match the format of the group's glossy newspapers in the city.

A folder on one of the double-width manroland Geoman presses at Chullora is being converted to print the 320mm page length, similar to the 310mm trim size of the papers printed heatset at PMP.

Although the NewsLocal changes are not related to those made for glossy supplements printed in Yandina, Queensland - including the Courier-Mail's weekly property section - national production director Marcus Hooke says the changes are an opportunity to have a common format across the coldset and heatset products for the community titles.

"Sydney will convert a single folder that will enable all communities to produced down that folder at the shorter tab format," he says.

Titles which will change to the 320mm size on newsprint in early 2019 include the Blacktown Advocate, Canterbury Bankstown Express, Central Coast Express Advocate, Central Sydney, Fairfield Advance, Hills Shire Times, Hornsby Advocate, Liverpool Leader, Macarthur Chronicle, Manly Daily, Northern District Times, Parramatta Advertiser, Penrith Press and the Rouse Hill Times.

NewsLocal publisher John McGourty says the compact tabloid aligns the papers to the size of current prestige publications and helps maintain a sustainable business model "long into the future".

In addition to the press and folder changes, the initiative requires new editorial template designs and new advertising specs.

Advertisers have been told their ads will be redesigned free and pricing structures for ads will not change.

Online, print and digital PDF editions will still be accessible free, but stories online will be behind a paywall.

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