News Ltd chief executive Kim Williams says it will be challenging to find new ways to generate growth under a restructure of parent company News Corporation, but no one will be standing idle.
In June, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp confirmed plans to split into two separate companies, one holding its newspaper business and another its much more profitable entertainment operations.
The publishing business will own newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, financial information service Dow Jones, book publisher HarperCollins and the News Ltd Australian operations, which include a stake in Foxtel and newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun.
On the Sunday Profile program on ABC's Radio National, it was put to Mr Williams that around 90 per cent of News Corp's profits were generated by television and film, and the publishing operations generated only 10 per cent. Profits from television and film were growing while profits from publishing were not.
"The challenging side in that environment is to find ways in which you can generate growth," Mr Williams said.
"And so our agenda is not to stand passively by and say `what happened?'.
"Our agenda is to actually make things happen and to actually take the company in a relevant direction that will drive growth and will drive good, sustainable profitability."
Asked if it would have been more appropriate for News Ltd to have its operations split between the publishing and entertainment arms, or for News Ltd to be placed in its entirety in the entertainment arm, Mr Williams said News Corp was always a logical and rational company.
"It is recognised that it's very important that there be an integrated whole in Australia in terms of the general development and transformation of the company in terms of moving into a very fully-fledged digital world," he said.
"I see a seamless landscape as we move forward."
Mr Williams also defended the level of detail that had so far been released on a restructuring of News Ltd's Australian newspapers.
The restructure was also announced in June but before News Corp said it would split into two separate companies.
Mr Williams has not specified how many jobs would be lost, in contrast to Fairfax, which has said 1900 jobs will go at The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald as part of its restructure.
Mr Williams said on Sunday that most of News Ltd's restructure would be conducted internally.
"It's not for the external amusement of the commentariat - it's actually about building a company that has a durable future," he said.
Mr Williams said he had a fully developed plan, yet it may change as things unfold.
He will be holding his cards close to his chest, he said.
"We're dealing with serious things here in terms of building a really durable, profitable future. This isn't a game."
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