Fairfax Media will cut 45 jobs by closing the glossy (sydney) and (melbourne) magazine inserts and integrating The Australian Financial Review and BusinessDay reporting teams.

The long-awaited changes were announced in an email to staff this morning by Fairfax’s Australian Publishing Media boss Allen Williams.

The (sydney) and (melbourne) magazines, inserted into The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age every month, will publish their last editions next month. The once bulky and ad-heavy mags have been growing increasingly anaemic over recent years, and are expensive to produce. While redeployment opportunities will be sought for those affected, cost cutting will see 20 jobs go in Fairfax’s News Media and Life Media publishing divisions. Voluntary redundancies are expected to be sought first, with a forced redundancy round if not enough people want to leave.

“It’s no secret to anyone in the media business that magazines have been an increasingly challenged platform,” Williams said in his email to staff. “The sydney/melbourne titles have been great magazines, but it makes commercial sense to make these changes.”

Fairfax also plans to eliminate 25 jobs from its business media unit, which houses the AFR and BusinessDay. The AFR’s quarterly Capital magazine will be downsized to a newspaper section. Crikey revealed in July that jobs were set to go through the contentious AFR/BusinessDay merger. Staff are still waiting for details on how they will be affected by the restructure.

The closure of the magazine inserts is the result of a comprehensive product review commissioned by Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood into the future viability of Fairfax’s 400-plus titles. Today’s announcement is only the initial response to the review, and more titles are expected to close.

APM boss Williams, News Media boss Garry Linnell, Business Media boss Sean Aylmer and Life Media boss Melina Cruickshank will hold question and answer sessions with Fairfax staff in Sydney and Melbourne today. In his email, Williams said: “We anticipate being in a position to communicate our decision about next steps by 14 October 2013.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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