Schwartz Pro closes three titles, makes seven redundancies

Schwartz has shuttered its Schwartz Pro titles – Australian Energy Daily, Australian Finance Daily, and Australian Health Daily – just a year and a half after launching, Mumbrella can reveal.

Seven roles have been made redundant as a result of the closures, including a chief executive, four editors and journalists, one researcher, and one sales executive.

Schwartz – which also owns Schwartz Media, the company behind the 7am podcast, The Saturday Paper, and The Monthly – said that Schwartz Pro would be the “answer to the exodus of specialist journalists from the general press” at the time of its launch.

But Schwartz’s publisher and founder, Morry Schwartz, told Mumbrella “the market spoke” and was ultimately “not willing to pay sufficiently to support the paid content.” He added that the titles provided “pure information”, rather than “editorial commentary or position”.

There were four tiers of subscription: a free model, ‘The Mercenary’ for $99 a month, ‘Advisory Team’ for $299 a month, and Pro Pack for $399 a month.

The websites and Twitter accounts for each title, in addition to the Schwartz Pro website, were deactivated after the closures took effect last Friday, 11 December. Subscribers will be issued pro-rated refunds.

Morry Schwartz

Charis Palmer, who was CEO of the Schwartz Pro arm but departed in May, was hopeful the titles would succeed. When Schwartz Pro launched in May 2019, Palmer explained that the business’ specialisations would be an advantage, and it would not be bogged down by “legacy print issues”.

“The paywall model is showing green shoots for some of the major players already, and I think they all realise consumers are willing to pay for quality journalism and they’re delivering it,” she said.

“But before the paywalls went up, the focus was on getting clicks with the least amount of investment in journalism. Around this time a lot of specialist journalists were packaged out, and now the business models can’t support bringing them back. We think by specialising, and not carrying legacy print issues, we can forge a new path.”

Charis Palmer previously led the Schwartz Pro arm

The three titles join a growing list of mastheads axed this year, such as 10 Daily, Buzzfeed News Australia, and hundreds of regional newspapers. The demise of many such publications was caused, or accelerated, by the impacts of COVID-19 on advertising revenues. However, the Schwartz Pro publications were not funded by advertisers, only subscriptions.

“We’ve deliberately decided to exclude advertising, so there’s no room for undue influence,” Palmer explained last year.

“It also means instead of having people focused on advertising sales, we can invest in journalists and researchers.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Schwartz Pro was a Schwartz Media company. Both come under the Schwartz umbrella, but are separate companies.


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