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Australians say ‘No’ to 100% foreign ownership of Fairfax

This Australia-wide Roy Morgan Survey was conducted over the last three nights of May 22-24, 2017 with a cross section of 648 respondents aged 14 and over. 
Over three-quarters of Australians (78%) do not want Fairfax Media to be 100% owned by either of the two overseas owned institutions* that have lodged multi-billion dollar bids for Fairfax in recent weeks. Only 17% of Australians say that overseas owned institutions should be allowed to buy Fairfax outright while 5% can’t say.

However, a majority of Australians (53%) are in favour of allowing overseas based institutions to own a minority stake in Fairfax. A larger majority of L-NP supporters (59%) are in favour of this option for Fairfax than ALP supporters (51%).

Melbourne & Sydney more protective of Fairfax against 100% foreign ownership

  • Only 12% of Melburnians are in favour of allowing overseas owned institutions to bid for 100% of Fairfax cf. 83% that say no;
  • Sydney: 13% in favour cf. 78% against;
  • Other Capital Cities (Adelaide, Brisbane & Perth): 23% in favour cf. 74% against;

Consumers of all major media channels reject 100% foreign ownership of Fairfax

  • Internet main media: 20% in favour cf. 73% against;
  • TV main media: 9% in favour cf. 86% against;
  • Newspapers main media: 14% in favour cf. 83% against;
  • Radio main media: 21% in favour cf. 78% against.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says Australians remain staunchly opposed to foreign ownership of major Australian media assets despite the troubles the sector is facing with declining revenues:

“The Australian media industry has faced significant revenue problems in recent years as the rise of the Internet has contributed to substantial declines in the advertising revenue for well-known Australian media businesses. Now 51% of Australians say the Internet is their main source of information compared to only 12% for newspapers – down from 22% in 2005.

“Today 78% of Australians say ‘No’ to the prospect of an overseas owned institution buying 100% of Fairfax. Huge majorities of both ALP supporters (86%) and also L-NP supporters (77%) are against 100% foreign ownership of Fairfax.

“However, 53% of Australians are open to a minority foreign stake in Fairfax. Slightly more L-NP supporters (59%) are in favour than ALP supporters (51%).”

This Australia-wide Roy Morgan Survey was conducted over the last three nights of May 22-24, 2017 with a cross section of 648 respondents aged 14 and over.

Which Media is Your Main Source of Information?

Which Media is Your Main Source of Information
Source: Australia-wide Roy Morgan surveys with representative cross-sections of Australians aged 14 and over conducted on October 12/13 & November 2/3, 2005 with 1,315 respondents and over the last three nights of May 22-24, 2017 with 648 respondents.

The Internet is now the main source of information for 51% of Australians compared to 24% for TV and 12% for both Newspapers and Radio.

*American private equity firm TPG Capital has made a bid of $2.76 billion for Fairfax while rival private equity firm from New York Hellman & Friedman, which is backed by former Fairfax chairman Brian Powers, has lodged a bid for Fairfax valued between $2.82-$2.87 billion.

**Any investment in a major Australian media company (like Fairfax media) of at least 5% made by a foreign entity must be notified and approved by the Treasurer under the Government’s Foreign Acquisition and Takeovers Act relating to ‘sensitive sectors’ of the Australian economy[1].

 

Which Media is Main Source of Information?

Respondents were first asked: “Which one media is your main source of information?”

Total all people aged 14+

Analysis by Sex and Age

Oct & Nov
2005

May
2017

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Internet

8

51

51

50

81

74

56

32

15

TV

48

24

22

26

10

12

21

34

41

Newspapers

22

12

14

10

4

8

7

15

24

Radio

19

12

13

12

5

5

16

16

16

Magazines

1

*

*

*

*

-

-

1

1

Other

1

*

-

*

-

1

-

-

-

Can’t say

1

1

-

2

-

-

-

2

3

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.

Total all people
aged 14+

Analysis by Region

May
2017

Sydney

Melbourne

Other
Capitals

Rest of Australia

%

%

%

%

%

Internet

51

51

54

57

44

TV

24

18

15

23

32

Newspapers

12

14

15

7

11

Radio

12

14

14

11

11

Magazines

*

1

-

-

1

Other

*

-

1

-

-

Can’t say

1

2

1

2

1

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.

Electors

Analysis by Federal Voting Intention

May
2017

L-NP

ALP

Greens

One Nation#

Others

Can’t say

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Internet

48

39

50

64

40

37

53

TV

25

31

26

13

25

27

21

Newspapers

13

13

13

10

25

13

11

Radio

13

16

10

10

10

18

14

Magazines

*

*

1

-

-

-

-

Other

*

-

-

2

-

-

-

Can’t say

1

1

*

1

-

5

1

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%. #These figures should be treated with caution as there were less than 50 respondents in these columns.


 

100% Ownership of Fairfax Media?

Respondents were then told: “Two overseas owned institutions have made bids to buy 100% of Fairfax who publish the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age” and asked “In your opinion should an overseas owned institution be allowed to buy 100% of Fairfax or not?”

Total all people
aged 14+

Main source of Information

May
2017

Internet

TV

Newspapers

Radio

Magazines#

Other/
Can’t say#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, 100%

17

20

9

14

21

32

-

No, not

78

73

86

83

78

68

100

Can’t say

5

7

5

3

1

-

-

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%. #These figures should be treated with caution as there were less than 50 respondents in these columns.

Total all people
aged 14+

Analysis by Region

May
2017

Sydney

Melbourne

Other
Capitals

Rest of Australia

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, 100%

17

13

12

23

17

No, not

78

78

83

74

79

Can’t say

5

9

5

3

4

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.

Total all people
aged 14+

Analysis by Sex and Age

May
2017

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, 100%

17

25

8

15

25

19

14

10

No, not

78

70

86

77

72

74

83

85

Can’t say

5

5

6

8

3

7

3

5

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.

Electors

Analysis by Federal Voting Intention

May
2017

L-NP

ALP

Greens

One Nation#

Others

Can’t say

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes, 100%

16

21

9

16

16

16

19

No, not

79

77

86

80

69

79

73

Can’t say

5

2

5

4

15

5

8

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%. #These figures should be treated with caution as there were less than 50 respondents in these columns.


 

Partial Ownership of Fairfax Media?

Those who said ‘No’ or ‘Can’t say’ to 100% ownership were then asked: “Should an overseas owned institution be allowed to buy 5% or more of Fairfax or not?” and also “How much?”

Total all people
aged 14+

Main source of Information

May
2017

Internet

TV

Newspapers

Radio

Magazines#

Other/
Can’t say#

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes; about 5%

7

5

12

8

5

18

15

Yes; about 10%

11

11

9

10

13

-

-

Yes; about 25%

12

12

13

8

12

50

-

Yes; less than 50%

23

23

22

28

25

-

24

Total Yes, but less than 50%

53

51

56

54

55

68

39

Yes; 100%

17

20

9

14

21

32

-

Total say Yes at least some overseas ownership
of Fairfax

70

71

65

68

76

100

39

No, not

24

21

30

27

21

-

48

Can’t say

6

8

5

5

3

-

13

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%. #These figures should be treated with caution as there were less than 50 respondents in these columns.

Total all people
aged 14+

Analysis by Region

May
2017

Sydney

Melbourne

Other
Capitals

Rest of Australia

%

%

%

%

%

Yes; about 5%

7

9

6

6

8

Yes; about 10%

11

13

10

9

11

Yes; about 25%

12

13

10

14

10

Yes; less than 50%

23

23

26

23

22

Total Yes, but less than 50%

53

58

52

52

51

Yes; 100%

17

13

12

23

17

Total say Yes at least some overseas ownership
of Fairfax

70

71

64

75

68

No, not

24

23

25

22

26

Can’t say

6

6

11

3

6

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.


Total all people
aged 14+

Analysis by Sex and Age

May
2017

Men

Women

14-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes; about 5%

7

6

9

8

10

4

7

10

Yes; about 10%

11

9

12

14

11

8

7

15

Yes; about 25%

12

12

12

12

9

12

13

12

Yes; less than 50%

23

28

20

24

23

29

22

19

Total Yes, but less than 50%

53

55

53

58

53

53

49

56

Yes; 100%

17

25

8

15

25

19

14

10

Total say Yes at least some overseas ownership
of Fairfax

70

80

61

73

78

72

63

66

No, not

24

16

32

15

19

23

31

30

Can’t say

6

4

7

12

3

5

6

4

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.

Electors

Analysis by Federal Voting Intention

May
2017

L-NP

ALP

Greens

One Nation#

Others

Can’t say

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes; about 5%

7

8

9

6

8

4

5

Yes; about 10%

10

10

10

9

14

15

8

Yes; about 25%

12

15

11

13

18

3

10

Yes; less than 50%

24

27

22

22

-

21

26

Total Yes, but less than 50%

53

60

52

50

40

43

49

Yes; 100%

16

21

9

16

16

15

19

Total say Yes at least some overseas ownership
of Fairfax

69

81

61

66

56

58

68

No, not

25

17

32

28

35

35

25

Can’t say

6

2

7

6

11

7

7

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%. #These figures should be treated with caution as there were less than 50 respondents in these columns.


For further information:

Contact

Office

Mobile

Gary Morgan:

+61 3 9224 5213

+61 411 129 094

Michele Levine:

+61 3 9224 5215

+61 411 129 093


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About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.


[1] Australian Government policy on ownership of Australian media companies under FATA (Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (FATA): http://www.presscouncil.org.au/uploads/52321/ufiles/Control_Background_Paper_Australian_Government_Department_of_Communications.pdf