Growth of events division ‘not about saving Fairfax’, as events boss plots organic expansion

Fairfax will grow its events division organically rather than through acquisition, with geographical expansion within existing sectors a priority, its managing director of life media and events Andrew McEvoy has said.


Food, lifestyle, the arts and business events will continue to be its focus, McEvoy said, as the division aims to build on revenues of around $60m.

But he downplayed its role within the media firm, insisting its growth was “not about saving Fairfax”.

“Acquisitions are not off the table but we are probably better off growing where our core strengths are,” McEvoy told Mumbrella at the Publish Summit in Sydney yesterday.

He singled out the arts as a key area but admitted it had work to do in developing its Spectrum event.andrew-mcevoy-and-martin-lane-publish-10

“The arts for partners is a feel good category. We have tried Spectrum and it’s gone pretty well, we’ve got big audiences but we’re not there yet,” he said. “We have not quite nailed it.

“But the arts category, entertainment, film, that is a category that we know is growing, that partners want to be involved with and that consumers can come at. That is the one I think can be great but it’s a complex category and we have not quite nailed it yet.”

McEvoy said the growth of Fairfax Events means it is now second only to Reed Exhibitions in the events industry in Australia, and generating “pretty good margins”.

But he downplayed its role within the media firm.andrew-mcevoy-and-martin-lane-publish-12

“We are not going to save Fairfax. It’s one more string to your bow but it’s not about saving Fairfax,” he said.

Key for brands in partnering with Fairfax for its events is the ability to target specific audiences, McEvoy added.

“One of the big things about events, particularly around the consumer events is that they provide the ability to talk to millennials. If you think being a media company is tough, try being a brand wanting to engage with millennials. It’s the biggest generation in history but darned if they aren’t hard to reach.”


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