Economy

Stokes’ Seven takes on News Corp with nightly newspaper, supported by Gina Rinehart

Headquartered in Perth, the launch team totals around 12 staff, with half in Sydney, while The Nightly will also lean on content from across all of Seven’s newsrooms, this masthead was told.

Stokes wields unrivalled influence in Western Australia due to his media company’s clout, and the 83-year-old is now turning his sights to the eastern cities where his television network, Seven, is one of the major players.

“Kerry supports it quite passionately,” another figure with knowledge of the launch commented, again on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.

A former deputy editor of The Daily Telegraph, De Ceglie joined The West in 2019, subsequently taking the paper toward a tabloid model and achieving an increase in readership. The paper has been compared to The Daily Telegraph – Perth is the only one of Australia’s five biggest cities without a Murdoch masthead.

Chris Dore is The Nightly’s star columnist.Credit: Jesse Marlow

The launch will see an evening digital newspaper replica published similar to this masthead’s Today’s Paper edition. The Nightly sources believe the approach can replicate sales generated from print advertising.

“Our lives have never been busier and human behaviour has changed as a result. Your mornings are chaotic and your “me time” is now at night,” a pitch deck quotes De Ceglie. “But that time is still precious and The Nightly helps you spend it wisely.”

The late-February launch will be into a particularly challenged digital advertising market, with revenues and traffic down as global platform Facebook shifts news away from its algorithms, as highlighted by News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson on Thursday.

Across the 2023 calendar year, industry-wide digital news publishing advertising fell by 8.8 per cent compared to the year prior, while newspaper advertising dropped a further 17.3 per cent, according to Standard Media Index.

A spokesman for Hancock Prospecting declined to confirm further details on the commercial deal following speculation the company had underwritten the launch of the project, but did confirm it would advertise in The Nightly.

In October, Seven West Media launched a new local sports broadcasting platform, Streamer, with the help from name partner BHP.

Hancock Prospecting upped its advertising spend in the second half of 2023 with Seven’s Perth-based publishing division, with Roy Hill the name partner in The West’s 190th anniversary celebrations, also sponsoring an editorial and video series.

In June, De Ceglie wrote a two-page editorial in The Sunday Times after Rinehart was awarded West Australian of the Year, saying the east coast of Australia had “always been jealous of the eventual rise-and-rise of Mrs Rinehart”.

The Sunday Times editorial on June 4 after Rinehart was named West Australian of the Year.

The Sunday Times editorial on June 4 after Rinehart was named West Australian of the Year.

“How she transformed Hancock Prospecting through astute business decisions and deal-making is now the stuff of legend.”

The Nightly has also secured deals with The New York Times and The Economist to republish content in its editions.

Seven declined to comment.

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