Fairfax ahead of advertising targets

19:56, Nov 28 2013

Strong South Island advertising is supporting Fairfax Media New Zealand's print and digital revenue growth targets, says newly appointed southern regional manager Phil Marshall-Lee.

Marshall-Lee has been in the regional role for about a month and says he has a positive view of Fairfax's opportunities to expand revenues in the media business.

For the three months to September 30, the southern region was ahead in expected advertising and slightly behind in circulation including in the retail space.

"Trading wise, financially we're doing quite well," Marshall-Lee said. "As a region we're collectively ahead of budget for the first quarter . . . advertising is probably stronger than we expected it to be, relative to budget."

The general South Island economy had improved and that was particularly noticeable across Canterbury, Marshall-Lee said.

He said there would now be a focus on revenue growth, given that Fairfax had been through a period of cost reduction.


"When I say revenue growth, it's traditional growth, which is in our core printing . . . we want to really protect print because we understand how important it is to the business.

"There's been a misconception in the market [that] print is dying. I don't think it is," Marshall-Lee said.

In digital, Fairfax would look to increase and diversify revenues through "new opportunities". This included potentially helping small to medium-sized businesses.

Marshall-Lee has been with Fairfax since 2007, when he stepped into the role of South Island business manager. He has taken the lead in many South Island business initiatives and critical projects as well as overseeing the region's finance activities.

During that time he project managed the rebuild and deployment of staff back into Press House in May 2012, following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Marshall-Lee also played a significant role in the planning of the new Christchurch print centre which opened in 2009.

Prior to joining Fairfax, Marshall-Lee held various senior financial positions, including six years as the chief financial officer for Soltius NZ, based in Wellington.

Fairfax Media NZ chief operating officer Andrew Boyle said Marshall-Lee's significant commercial capability, proven leadership and understanding of the business was of great value for the teams across the South Island.

Boyle thanked Barry Appleby who has acted in the South Island leadership position since April.

Boyd Warren is now regional advertising manager for the South Island.