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.