Fairfax to spend $30m on IT, digital

Fairfax has pledged a $30 million IT and digital capital expenditure spend for the 2011 financial year.

Fairfax has pledged a $30 million IT and digital capital expenditure spend for the 2011 financial year.

Major capital expenditure projects that Fairfax has been working on since 2006/2007 have included revamping editorial and advertising systems, newsagent and subscriber management systems, and accounts receivable systems.

The specialist reporting segment of the company was seeing the benefits of the editorial system upgrade, according to the results presentation, with employees now able to utilise "true multimedia functionality".

Fairfax CFO Brian Cassell said that the 2011 expenditure was for new projects including purchasing hardware to support new applications and upgrades to business systems across Australia and New Zealand, as well as paying for the work, externally and internally, on those systems and applications.

There were a range of projects within mobile digital business, he said, with new additions planned in the smartphone and tablet area.

Users have downloaded over 340,000 iPhone applications. Over 50 applications for Android and iPhone tablets have also been developed, according to the company's investor presentation.

The media giant has been working hard on a strategy for the times ahead. Part of that is adapting the business for the digital era, distributing content on new platforms and pulling audiences over from newspapers.

Fairfax's plan is to wean its readers further from papers. "Over time, the iPhone, iPad and other e-reader platforms will enable us to distribute our content to new audiences, or migrate existing audiences from the papers," the company's media statement said.

Fairfax has grown its online revenues by 53 per cent in three years, bringing the percentage of overall revenues from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.

(Front page image credit: Australia Dollars image by InfoMofo, CC2.0)


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