The Sydney Morning Herald is in trouble and the Age is little better. The Murdoch stable received slightly better news with minor increases. The Australian informed its readers of the news on October 14 and included this curious paragraph:
"News Limited expanded its share of the major newspaper market to 68.5 per cent, up from 68.2 per cent, selling 13.3 million papers a week."
What other Western democracies can boast nearly 70% of newspapers being owned by one company? Not many.
News Ltd chief executive John Hartigan believes the Murdoch juggernaut is just beginning:
"...There is still a lot to achieve and our faith in being able to significantly grow newspapers as a category is demonstrated in the investments we continue to make in upgrading technology and launching new products for readers and advertisers."
The Howard government is considering modifying the cross-media laws, the inevitable result giving the Murdoch and Packer groups much greater power and influence. Only a dependent or desperate leader - virtually every Australian Prime Minister in the last decades has been keen to shower love over Packer and Murdoch - would give the media moguls even more power.