SNAFU: The Age too defeated to boast as its readership numbers freefall

wheelsfallingofftheage The Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association (PANPA) is the industry body for newspapers in the Asia Pacific region.  Chief among their jobs these days (apart from offering a shoulder to cry on for departing Fairfax employees) is to run the annual award process they call “Newspaper of the Year”.

You may have seen this award being trumpeted by various newspapers over the past few years. Melbourne’s own Herald Sun has won the award four times in the last six years.  This year’s Newspaper of the Year awards will be announced in late August, but this week PANPA announced the (very long) list of finalists in the attached PDF.

It makes interesting reading.  Apart from the obvious point that just about every newspaper you’ve ever heard of is a finalist, there is a remarkable omission from the major Newspaper of the Year award. Did you spot it?

That’s right. Where is The Age?  The didn’t even make it as a finalist, despite the Sunday Age being the winner of last year’s Sunday Newspaper of the Year Award.

What happened? How bad could their entry have been that they didn’t even score a finalist guernsey and yet one of this year’s finalists is, wait for it, the Manly Daily (no offence to the fine News Limited publication but they certainly don’t have the resources given to The Age)

Here at VEXNEWS, we’re loath to leave a stone unturned where there might be the chance of featuring a further, feeble, foolish Fairfax failure.  And sure enough.

You’ll love this one.  A single phone call was enough to uncover the most hilarious fail we’ve encountered this year.  We’re still laughing so much we can barely type the words, but here goes…

Why didn’t The Age make the finals of the PANPA Newspaper of the Year awards?

Are you ready for this?  Hold on.  Brace yourself.

They.  Forgot.  To.  Enter.

Don Churchill was clearly too busy on his Blackberry.  Bryan McCarthy was too busy on his retirement plans.  The rest of the management team were clearly too busy planning their exit strategies and ensuring the goldness of their parachutes.

The list even shows that entries were received from other parts of the Fairfax world, including The Age’s own marketing department who submitted entries in junior categories, but nothing from anyone higher up the food chain.

We’d love to receive an official comment from The Age’s if our source is wrong, but we don’t think it is and they tend not to respond to our reasonable queries, for some reason.  We promise we’d publish it unedited. But we’re not holding our breath.  Sometimes a story can be just too weird and hilarious to be anything but true.

We know with a high degree of confidence that no entry in the category of Newspaper of the Year was received from The Age at the office of PANPA.

We challenge our friends at Media House in Docklands to provide us with any credible response other than “Our bad.”

5PM UPDATE: To compound the sadness at The Age over failing to nominate itself in newspaper industry awards, the Roy Morgan newspaper readership stats have come out today.

In short, The Age is having a miserable run, with a percentage collapse in readership nearing double digits.

The Herald Sun readership is down a little, Melbourne’s favoured newspaper is experiencing mild turbulence compared to the Age’s explosive loss of cabin pressure.

While Fairfax shareholders wait for the oxygen masks to deploy, it’s just worth noting that this latest figure for the Saturday Age is the lowest readership figure ever recorded for that newspaper.

With the best part of a 10% fall in readership over the last quarter, we’re also seeing a terminal dive in classifieds business that Fairfax cannot arrest. The dive is too steep, too fast. Advertisers are noticing and are turning away.

Also significant is that the Sunday Age had previously been flying high in clear skies. Clearly the engines are flaming out on this baby too, despite (or perhaps because of) the nude appearance of some of its scribes in its increasingly trivial pages.

Hard to know what Fairfax can do to address what appears to be a nasty spiral, other than bale out. Fairfax’s enemies will make much of this terrible set of figures. Industry insiders say it can only get worse from here for the broadsheet with a very large and unwieldy editorial cost structure and new premises nearly as lavish as the SS Titanic.

We’ll be listening out for the distant “crump” and watching the horizon for the telltale pall of black smoke that will signal “no survivors”.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “SNAFU: The Age too defeated to boast as its readership numbers freefall

  1. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  2. an old friend

    “The Age”, Melbourne’s left wing newspaper? left wing of what? the seagull they serve at KFC. what’s next? are going to say the get their orders direct from Moscow, Pravda on the Yarra. moles ,sleepers red menace etc. who passed you the whizz pipe, Julie Bishop? Be honest you hate “The Age” because they gave you a slapping.

  3. Dan Lewis

    You gotta be in it to lose it.

  4. BS Detector

    A good mate of mine in the ad buying industry was recently told that he could get a full page in the the Age for $1,000 – the Age are so desperate for any income flow that they are virtually giving ad space away.

  5. dogs breath

    hope the journos like Paul Austin rot in hell. He’s a dog with a major chip on his shoulder. Lives in his own universe bagging Brumby non stop. He obviously never reads the business pages of the Financial Review. The best performing state in country is Vic, but if you read Paul’s stuff you’d think the place was falling apart. Send him to the usa.

  6. Futile Febrile Flailing Fairfax

    What odds this set of numbers will see Bryan McCarthy scuttling for the exit, seeing as his grand padrone Signore John B no longer has the influence and power he once had?

  7. Ad buyer

    BS Detector is right that The Age is selling pages cheap, but to be fair, $1,000 would probably only buy you a full page in something crappy like Tabloid Drive or Business Lite – although if you didn’t get a second full page thrown in for free you’d be getting ripped off.

  8. Melbourne Weakly

    Ha Ha. You forgot to mention that the new real estate magazine being published by ex-age gunslinger catalano has destroyed the profitability of the last profitable business in Fairfax Melbourne’s portfolio of pathetic publications.

  9. Channelling Hate

    Has anyone seen the grovelling apology that the age published recently to atone for its hateful, inaccurate, biased and gratuitous campaign against Port Phillip Channel Deepening?

    Nope, neither did I.

  10. Ghostbuster

    Who is Don Churchill? Does he really exist or is he just a figment of someone’s blackberry?

  11. ADS ADS ADS

    The desperation of the Age to now have ads automatically play on their website that you can’t pause or take the sound away from shows just how much in the shits they are for funds, and those ads will now drive away their online audience as well. Whoever is in charge at that paper needs to understand how both businesses and news actually works.

  12. Carbone-based life form

    Hey Andy, it’s been a while since you’ve written anything entertaining about Suzy Carbone? Surely you have something to offer on that score?

  13. Dipsy, Tinky Winky, La La and Po

    Can we have some more nekked pics of age staffers plz? Im thinkn Red Ken Davidson, Michelle Grattan, Suzy Floozy. Mmmm.

  14. Dave and Mabel

    It’s time the age went tabloid. I have to fold it in half before it will fit in the bottom of my cocky’s cage.

  15. Mother says there’s a poorly-dressed man living out of rubbish cans and sleeping in shop doorways along Mornington’s shopping strip. Very surly and supercilious.
    I’m not saying it’s Lawrence Money. On the other hand I’m not saying it isn’t, either.

  16. Age reader and Herpes survivor

    A word of caution about these readership polls.

    You have to remember that alot of people are reluctant to admit they actually still read The Age, such is the shoddy reputation the paper has in our fair city these days.

    So it’s quite possible there are more readers than Roy Morgan suggests.

    It’s the same problem Herpes Australia has when they commission a poll.

  17. no future

    sounds like the ding bats at faifax are about to kill their own local papers and turn them into magazines. High risk. Fucks many good journos who should be writing at the aged!

  18. Anonymous

    You people don’t understand the integrity of The Age. They are running themselves out of business to eliminate their carbon footprint.

  19. The ABC circulation figures are just released see above, a similar result to the readership figures you quoted above.

    Melbourne Age is -4.1%
    The Sun is -2.1%

  20. RodF

    No surprises. The Age is a terrible newspaper.
    Knowing who is running the show at The Age I dare say they’ll keep on the same path until they can’t give copies away.

  21. Doubting itz

    Wot of Maher Mughrabi who sets the tone

  22. Couldn't happer to a nicer newspaper

    Dogs Breath, whereas I agree with your sentiment, I think W.A. might disagree with you about Vic being the best performing state.

    Of course, even the “best performing state” award is a mixed blessing as the competition is hardly strong. when you think of all the others (all with long term Labor govts) Zimbabwe would be in with a chance.

  23. Man from LaMancha

    HAHAHAAHA. The Age deserves to die. I despise socialism, and this socialist rag needs to die. It’s OK though the sacked hacks get to go and work at the socialist ABC, Deveny did.

    I can hardly wait to drive to the airport and see that state of the art printing facility in mothballs. CAN’T WAIT.

    I hate, hate, hate, hate THE AGE. Die AGE.

    I want the Herald Sun to die too, and Nine News. Kill em all and let god sort em out.

    Screw the lamestream media jackals.

    Screw them all.

    The socialists need to die first though.

  24. Peaceman

    The hard core aren’t true socialists any more. They’ve transmogrified into complete fascists with their favouring of terrorists against democracies as they showed with their treatment of the Hamas lovers on that so called peace boat full of jihadist thugs. It just goes to show if you lie about dogs you get fleas.

  25. Ali. K.

    The Age isnt losing readers! Their audience is getting ‘more selective’.

  26. Geoff Cass

    Maybe it simlpy goes to prove that Australians are no longer as pro-communism/socialism/Labor as we used to be. And if you become fed up at the far-left tone of the Age, then you no longer buy the newspaper, and so the trend grows.

  27. Anonymous

    Those readership numbers probably means Ramadge gets promoted. Fail spectacularly, get a leg-up. If Don Chruchill is still in the building after allowing Catalano to steal the Fairfax lunch, Ramadge is in for a gold-plated bonus.

    And you know what? He IS one of their star performers if judged by the damage Gill and Burge are doing to the Fin. And they’re still there as well.

    What an amazing company!

  28. Anonymous

    There is a difference between “not” entering and “forgetting” to enter.

    So keen to bag Fairfax that you’re willing to make up your own stories huh?

  29. i hate yous all

    yeah, what delight we shall take in watching the downfall of the Age. A once great newspaper, all those evil journalists, sub editors, graphic artists, printers et cal. How we shall all laugh in their faces when they all lose their jobs. what joy. what a fabulous source of amusement to pseudo news sites who invest absolutely nothing in quality journalism but simply report a diatribe of gossip (loved than penbo story, by the way!) and hatred against companies who have actually established a reputation, based on news. funny stuff, funny funny stuff.

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