May 13, 2003

SYDNEY MORNING Herald and Melbourne

SYDNEY MORNING Herald and Melbourne Age circulation isn't great. And now Australia's versions of The Guardian face a new threat - from The Guardian itself:

The Guardian Newspapers Group in London has today announced that it will start live production at its first digital production site in Australia in June as part of its international strategy. The Guardian and The Observer are respected UK broadsheets that will be printed on an Oce Digital Newspress 8000 by Security Mail Pty.Ltd, Oce's strategic print partner in Australia.

Oce, the recognised world leader in short-run digital print production, has provided The Guardian and The Observer with a new gateway to the Australian market, enabling them to be the only daily British newspapers on sale on the day of publication in Australia, providing a unique service to their readers.

Oce Digital Newspaper Network is using its high-speed digital machine to print The Guardian and The Observer international editions in Sydney seven days a week. Due to the nine-hour time difference, it will mean that the newspapers are on the streets of Sydney before the United Kingdom, and that The Guardian Newspaper Group will carry fresher news than Australian domestic publications. The papers will be available at lunchtime both to subscribers and newsstands.

(From a press release, no link available.) I'm betting that The Guardian is making this move partly because their site gets lots of Australian hits. Lunchtime delivery will be a problem, but if they added some local sports coverage and a local lefty columnist (Phillip Adams?), an Oz Guardian might work here. An immediate difficulty for the SMH and The Age, which both harvest The Guardian's news and comment pages, will be locating another source of commie Brit wank.

UPDATE. Is The Guardian embracing globalisation? South African reader Dave F. reports:

The Graun recently severed its longstanding arrangement with the South African national weekly "Mail and Guardian", which contained a complete Guardian section that helped sell a lot of M and Gs to "quality"-starved lefties.

In the light of this and the press release you quote, I wonder if Johannesburg and Cape Town will be the next to get a daily Graun and Sunday Observer.

UPDATE UPDATE. Michael Jennings points out that the SMH is already available in London:

Digital printing offered a complete new opportunity to this Fairfax title, The Sydney Morning Herald in London. Before the DNN digital service was available, this title had no representation in Europe. Today, it is available for its readers on the streets of London at the same time as it is in Sydney.

Launched in London to coincide with the Commonwealth Games, the digital copies were dashed to Manchester by the distributor IPn, allowing athletes from the Australian team to catch up on home news, and indeed their own exploits, in their favourite newspaper.

Haven't athletes heard about the Internet?

Posted by Tim Blair at May 13, 2003 06:11 PM