News Corp Australia is scrapping its struggling free mX commuter newspapers, Mumbrella understands.
The news comes just two months after a shake up in the division which saw staff redundancies and a redesign of the newspapers which are handed to commuters out in the afternoon at train stations and other commuter locations.
News Corp announced the move to staff internally in the last hour with News Corp CEO Julian Clarke sending an email to staff blaming the “swift shift to mobile” of its “young commuter audience” for making the “decision inevitable”.
He added: “It is always disappointing to see a publication close but after thorough view of MX’s commercial prospects it is clear this is the right decision.”
A News Corp spokesman told Mumbrella: “News confirms the closure of mX in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“The decision is a reflection of the changing reading habits of commuters who now turn to their mobile phones and tablets on their way to and from work.”
“News will continue to invest in our extensive suite of print and digital products, which are purchased and read by millions of Australians every day.”
It is understood the last edition of the mX will be on June 12 and that around 30 full time journalistic roles are affected, with the publisher to try and redeploy as many of these positions as possible.
The newspaper also relies on a network of distribution staff at transport terminals to hand out the paper to passengers. The company refused to comment on the impact on these jobs or whether it would continue the MX app.
mX was established in 2001 in Melbourne, with News Corp opening a Sydney edition in 2005 and Brisbane in 2007.
However in recent years the circulations for all three titles have been cut by around 20 per cent.
The last audit showing 34,313 copies were handed out on average each weekday in Brisbane, compared to 42,831 in the March 2012 audit, a drop of 19.8 per cent.
For Sydney circulation dropped from 99,059 in March 2012 to 77,831 this year – a 21 per cent decline – and in Melbourne the drop went from 84,699 in March 2012 to 69,148, 18.3 per cent.
News Corp CEO Julian Clarke’s email to staff:
I wish to advise that we will cease publishing MX on Friday, June 12, 2015. We have informed MX employees of this decision earlier today.
It is always disappointing to see a publication close but after thorough view of MX’s commercial prospects it is clear this is the right decision.
MX has since its inception in Melbourne in 2001 served a young commuter audience well with its fresh and innovative style. Nevertheless that audience’s swift shift to mobile information and entertainment has made this decision inevitable. Obviously news.com.au and out masthead websites are well used by the commuter audience.