The iconic publisher, owner of The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald among others, is said to be re-evaluating the structure of its metropolitan newsrooms to incorporate a greater focus on digital output.
Following the steady decline in print circulation and advertising revenues, plus the departure of The Age Editor in Chief Andrew Holden after 13 years, industry analysts are touting Domain as the key holder of value within Fairfax Media.
Led by Chief Executive Antony Catalano, Domain reported a 37 per cent digital revenue growth for the six months ended December 31, and a 74 per cent increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to $65.7 million.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review (AFR) Fairfax Media Chief Executive Greg Hywood reveals moves to give Domain its own headquarters and chief executive, and to separate the business operationally from the rest of Fairfax.
He adds the strategy is not intended as a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO).
“What we need to do is make sure that the marketplace could get a line of sight on the performance of the business,” the AFR reports Hywood as saying.
“And it’s come to pass: a few years ago on a sum-of-the-parts basis the market put say a $300 million value on Domain and some people are putting $1.9 billion on it now.”
“That’s just an estimate, there are other views, but our view is this has got a growth trajectory and why shouldn’t all Fairfax shareholders get 100 per cent of the value of that?” The AFR reports.
Hywood adds there will be “a transition period” until inevitably digital media replaces print, but says business will go through that transition period at different rates and that ‘quality journalism’ is here to stay albeit delivered in a different form.