Fairfax boss Jack Matthews: With the Guardian’s five or six journalists against our 700, I like our chances

Jack Matthews Fairfax MediaFairfax Media has nothing to fear from the launch of The Guardian, the boss of the company’s metro operation has argued.

The comments from Jack Matthews, CEO of Fairfax Metro Media, came in a video interview with Encore timed to coincide with the relaunch of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from broadsheet to compact sized.

It also comes as The Guardian prepares to launch an Australian website.

Asked if he feared The Guardian, Matthews replied: “No, I don’t fear The Guardian. There are two aspects to that – audience and advertising dollars. In terms of audience The Guardian has good content… in the online world people don’t go to one place anymore, they go to lots of places. The people who have been inclined to go to The Guardian probably have been going to The Guardian for a long time.

“From what I have seen they are going to have five or six journalists. I don’t care how good those journalists are – if there’s five or six journalists against our 700, I like our chances.

“In terms of advertising they are going to be a niche publication here and they might pick up a few bucks here and there but I don’t see them as some sort of mortal threat to us. In the old days when people went to one newspaper, maybe. But not anymore.”

Asked about the timing of the move to compact, Matthews said that he wished previous managements of Fairfax had made the move years before.

He said: “You’re talking about 180 years of tradition and you don’t walk away from that lightly. But in my view, we should have done it earlier.”

Encore issue 5

This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.

Comments


  1. paul
    7 Mar 13
    12:47 pm

  2. Errr, has he not heard of “quality vs quantity”?

    I’d rather read the Guardian over the BS Farifax shoves at us. Bring it on!

  3. Mike
    7 Mar 13
    2:24 pm

  4. The Guardian in Australia is just repackaged English content, with some token Australian content thrown in, isn’t it?
    It’s like a newspaper version of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” – they film in Australia and assume Australians audiences will lap it up.
    The Poms just don’t get it, do they? Like trying to flog Marmite to Australians.
    Ah well, they’ll learn.

  5. Sidog
    7 Mar 13
    2:28 pm

  6. If Fairfax have so many journos, why do they syndicate so much content from the guardian and the nyt?

  7. Jack B. Nimble
    7 Mar 13
    3:00 pm

  8. Agree with Paul and Sidog! How many of those 700 journalists are actually writing solid news and the stuff that The Guardian will deliver? How many of them are actually specialists on fluffy lifestyle sections, or people who seem to file just one so-so story or comment piece every four days?

  9. ian
    8 Mar 13
    11:09 am

  10. I’d call the 700 people at Fairfax a lot of things. Journalist isn’t one of them.

  11. Misdemeanour
    8 Mar 13
    11:41 am

  12. Ha ha Mike : The Guardian in Australia is just repackaged English content, with some token Australian content thrown in, isn’t it? It’s like a newspaper version of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”

    Erm, no.

    I wonder if you have ever read the Guardian?

  13. John
    8 Mar 13
    12:22 pm

  14. Jack might like to look at Nielsen MI once in a while.

    No one disputes that Fairfax’s mega expensive business model with 700 journalists has done well – SMH is in fact the #1 news website in Feb for average daily UBs.

    But Ninemsn gets the same traffic – and more revenue – with only a few dozen producers. BigPond is now number 3 with only a handful of journalists.

    The Guardian has already gotten to number 15 in Australia – and MailOnline number 9 – and neither have ANY Australian journalists so far.

  15. Andrew Duffy
    8 Mar 13
    12:38 pm

  16. Eh. Why do news & fairfax execs always insist on belittling other outlets?

    It will be good to see a fresh voice in Australia, and I reckon Matthews is essentially right in claiming there’s enough room for all these publications to co-exist.

  17. jane
    8 Mar 13
    10:10 pm

  18. I wonder if the proportion of Guardian readers will be 700 readers:5 journalists and Fairfax 5 readers:700 journalists. Just sayin’.