Throw a few subs on the barbie

The Telegraph of London is outsourcing production of some of its sections to Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

At my New Business Models for News Summit, Telegraph digital head Edward Roussel rephrased my admonition and told the room to do what you do best and outsource the rest. Guess they mean it.

The work will go to Pagemasters, a company owned by the Australian Associated Press (co-owned by Fairfax and Murdoch’s News Corp), which said it has received inquiries from publishers around the world. I’ll bet. I’m surprised that American newspaper chains haven’t consolidated nearly all their production; there’s no reason it can’t be centralized. As the Herald reports, it makes even more sense to do it in Australia because salaries are lower and the work there can be done on the cheaper day shift. All we’d have to do is teach them that sport is plural and footballs aren’t round.

UPDATE: Edward Roussel confirms in the comments:

Jeff – I can confirm that we are outsourcing the production work for newspaper weekend supplements to Australia – and thereby saving quite a bit of money.

The copy goes to Australia once it has been approved by an editor in London. To Rob Mark’s point, the printing takes place in the UK. We have outsourced that too. Arch-rival News International takes care of our printing.

Both the outsourcing of production and printing has allowed us to reduce costs and raise standards: NI has state-of-the-art color printing presses and we are happy with the standard of work that’s being done in Australia.

Reducing the cost of manufacturing and distribution is an imperative for any newspaper group that is determined to remain profitable, as we are. This is a great time to be shopping around the world for value-for-money partners.

The principle holds true on the digital side. ITN creates our video content, providing quality and value that we would struggle to generate internally; Brightcove handles our video distribution; Google powers our search; Escenic provides our web publishing tool; we use software developers in Bulgaria and India.

Newspaper-web companies should focus internal resource on what they do best: creating premium editorial content.

  • http://www.latitudegroup.com Luke Regan

    Speaking of production, your news innovation link is broken. Might be time to outsource your blog subbing ;)

    • http://newsafternewspapers.blogspot.com Martin Langeveld

      Agreed, it’s messed up in IE (page typography is borked), works fine in Firefox.

  • http://www.mcgarvey.co.uk John McGarvey – copywriter

    Guess it makes even more sense for papers based here in the UK, as there aren’t too many differences between English and Australian language at all. Well, apart from the slightly annoying Aussie habit of shortening every other word, of course.

  • http://www.jetwhine.com Rob Mark

    And then they pay how much to ship all the materials that are printed from Australia? And that’s cheaper? Wow.

    • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

      Confirm that you’re joking, please.

  • http://richardkendall.blogspot.com/ Richard Kendall

    Don’t sub-editors need local knowledge of their patch in order to stop their output becoming generic news coverage?

    I suppose this would be more of an issue on a regional/local title?

  • http://matthewparsons.wordpress.com Matt Parsons

    Rob Mark has a good point about costs, but there’s also the fact it takes at least 24 HOURS by plane.
    Seriously, as a sub myself, I think there’s a lot to be said for talking to the reporters/contributors about copy, and there’s usually/should be a lot of back and forth… you’d lose this, and lose quality with outsourcing I think.

    • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

      Uh, they’re going to send back electronic versions of the pages. Amazing, technology.

  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk Edward Roussel

    Jeff – I can confirm that we are outsourcing the production work for newspaper weekend supplements to Australia – and thereby saving quite a bit of money.

    The copy goes to Australia once it has been approved by an editor in London. To Rob Mark’s point, the printing takes place in the UK. We have outsourced that too. Arch-rival News International takes care of our printing.

    Both the outsourcing of production and printing has allowed us to reduce costs and raise standards: NI has state-of-the-art color printing presses and we are happy with the standard of work that’s being done in Australia.

    Reducing the cost of manufacturing and distribution is an imperative for any newspaper group that is determined to remain profitable, as we are. This is a great time to be shopping around the world for value-for-money partners.

    The principle holds true on the digital side. ITN creates our video content, providing quality and value that we would struggle to generate internally; Brightcove handles our video distribution; Google powers our search; Escenic provides our web publishing tool; we use software developers in Bulgaria and India.

    Newspaper-web companies should focus internal resource on what they do best: creating premium editorial content.

    • http://www.backbenchsolutions.co.uk Andy Pacino

      Try here http://www.backbenchsolutions.co.uk as we’re trying to keep the work in Britain. Need subs often. Set up in progress as I type.

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  • http://www.timworstall.com Tim Worstall

    Footballs? Rounds, in Oz?
    Rugby League, Rugby Union and Australian Rules all use balls rather like american football. Soccer there is very much a minority sport.

  • Mike

    Now Jeff, who’d be teaching Aussies about the shape of balls? hopefully someone who’s heard of rugby union, rugby league and Aussie Rules! And as for knowing about sport (s) … Australia is the land where too much sport is never enough; even Lance Armstrong was twittering this morning about watching the Eagles v Giants on TV in Adelaide.

  • http://blueskypr.biz Richard

    Meanwhile in Bradford, UK, it now sends its pre-press for final production in Lahore. That’s India.

  • Nic Fulton

    If I remember correctly a lot of Hollywood movie/film production moved to Australia in the last decade. Much of that migration was due to costs. Sounds like the news papers are following suit.

    However, I also seem to remember another reason that film/movie production moved there was that the guilds weren’t so strong there. Might the same be true with newspapers?

    • Andy Freeman

      Could there be some correlation, if not a causal relationship, between “costs” and “guild strength”?

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