Networks have spoken about their different approaches to mergers with other media, this week at annual AGMs.
Nine is awaiting Fairfax shareholders to vote on a takeover next Monday. If they vote in favour a week later it heads to court for approval.
The combining of the two companies’ publishing businesses will include brands such as The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Nine.com.au, 9Honey, CarAdvice, Pedestrian and Future Women.
Peter Costello, who will chair the combined company, said, “You’ve got to remember this; Fairfax the company has a suite of assets, so we’re not just buying print. We’re merging in order to get an interest in Domain (digital), Stan (digital), mastheads (digital and print), radio and then community newspapers and New Zealand.
“Print is an important part, but we think we need to go heavily into digital if we’re going to be a profitable company in the future. We’ll really be focusing on all of the digital properties which will include digital mastheads.”
He added, “We still compete with Seven. We compete very strongly with Seven. We compete very strongly with News, but that’s not our only problem. Here are our big competitors. Netflix: global behemoth. Google: global behemoth.”
Meanwhile at Seven West Media’s AGM Chairman Kerry Stokes took the view that opportunities will arise for them, and the company will be able to use its market position to take advantage of them.
“There’s a lot of talk about whether we should get married or not married,” he said.
“Nine have this wonderful program which is called Married at First Sight. And maybe that’s not necessarily a good responsibility for a corporate citizen, to get married at first sight.”
“We certainly wouldn’t want to do that, and they seem to have chosen to do that, and I hope it works out for them long term, because they are two important companies. We wish them nothing but the best.”