Fairfax looks to outsource image handling, redundancies to result

Fairfax is looking to outsource its image handling teams overseas, with redundancies to follow.

The image teams of Fairfax Metro Media offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra will be outsourced to an external supplier, if the proposal goes through.

One option on the table is to expand the scope of image handling work already handled by VMG in the Philippines to Fairfax in New Zealand, according to an internal document obtained by Mumbrella.

The changes could affect 17 positions, although Fairfax is looking at how to redeploy them elsewhere within the company.

A statement issued to Mumbrella reads:

Fairfax is consulting with affected staff and their representatives and no final decisions have been made. The proposal follows an extensive review of image handling arrangements in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney which involved workshops with staff. The proposed improvements to operations are consistent with the Fairfax of the Future strategy.

According to the internal document, the proposal covers management of automated image handling systems, imaging work for special features and magazines, image handling on deadlines and quality control.

The “small team” that would remain in Australia would service the management of the third party relationship.

A final decision on the proposal is expected by 17 November.


  1. Fab
    15 Nov 12
    3:39 pm

  2. How exciting. This management has outsourced sub editing to Pagemasters. Now they will do the imaging bit, probably to Manila. Editorial is outsourced to Packer. They have outsourced management to Bain and Co, LEK, Boston and I think McKinsey are having a go shortly at the “culture” (which itself is a Back to The Future moment for those who recall the infamous $40m cost saving project that Hilmer inherited from Bob Muscat). Their capital management is outsourced to UBS. The board is outsourced to Hancock Prospecting. I gather that they even have consultants for ad sales (who have not, actually, ever sold a page of anything).
    What are the board and management doing? Playing golf with consultants?

  3. Jack B. Nimble
    15 Nov 12
    4:59 pm

  4. Fab: I called FFX ciorporate comms and asked that question, but they tell me that the role of talking to the media has been outsourced to Apple PR, because they have proven experts at ignoring the media, mostly saying “No comment” and getting away with it.

  5. Fab
    15 Nov 12
    6:26 pm

  6. Jack: good call. Try Cato Counsel. I think that’s the brains of the outfit.

  7. Cogito
    15 Nov 12
    10:28 pm

  8. Sad. It’s not so much the messy cost cutting as the totally inept lack of idea of product.

  9. Distressed Fairfax worker
    16 Nov 12
    10:50 am

  10. Fairfax have outsourced subediting of their two major Regional mastheads, The Illawarra Mercury and The Newscastle Herald, to Fairfax Editorial Services (FES) NZ. FES already use Velocity Made Good (VMG) for their advertising imaging work. They are also looking at using them for Editorial work.
    So far this year at the SMH and Age there were 150 redundancies, plus 80 redundancies between the Illawarra Mercury and Newcastle Herald.
    They are also in the process of setting up a subhub in Tasmania. Eight positions are meant to go at The Launceston Examiner.
    This comes on the back of sacking four union members there. Fairfax is also selling off it’s profitable US agricultural publishing business for $US79.9 million. But Gina thinks it’s great so lets keep pulling those strings.
    Unfortunately each of these actions leaves an unsightly blemish on the business which bleeds into a large ink blot. Or should I say a digital virus as that is the ‘future of the business’.
    Readers are now experiencing the erosion of quality as some of the best writers have left after questioning the company’s future direction.
    Needless to say morale in the office is at an all time low.

  11. Cogito
    16 Nov 12
    11:30 am

  12. @Distressed: you’ve nailed it with the digital virus. The Newsmedia version of Typhoid Mary. Goes by the name of Barfly Jack.

  13. Not a happy reader
    16 Nov 12
    11:50 am

  14. A newspaper business is nothing without journalists and Fairfax has dumped way too many.

    What used to be Doug Anderson’s daily TV column in the Sydney Morning Herald is now filled by copy reprinted from Monday’s TV Guide. As a subscriber I am offended. I pay for new writing each day, not rehashed words.

    The news pages are looking great lately though – finally the SMH has an editor who understands layout and what kinds of news we want to read. But for heaven’s sake give the man some more staff …