Since launch, the Inq team has revealed how the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has filled its ranks with former party candidates and donors, after which the federal government committed to changing how it makes these appointments.
The Australian Financial Review revealed on Monday that there would be a voluntary redundancy round at the business just months after the $2 million worth of funding was secured. Sources close to the business said this is likely to involve cuts to about three positions. Several people have resigned from the Crikey owner over the past few months.
While Mr Beecher assured employees during the staff meeting that the business is in the process of attracting subscribers more strongly, there have also been difficulties for advertising-focused business title Smart Company in a soft ad market. Public service focused The Mandarin is having a stronger period, sources close to the business said.
This month Mr Beecher hired University of Technology Sydney professor Peter Fray, the co-director of the Centre for Media Transition, as managing director for Crikey, The Mandarin and Smart Company. Mr Beecher and Mr Fray are both former editors of the Herald.
A source close to John B Fairfax’s Marinya Capital said Inq‘s subscriber numbers and financial performance were in line with the business plan but that as a start-up the model was still being refined and this had an impact on staff.
“Marinya invested an amount of capital into Private Media that will provide plenty of runway for Eric Beecher and the team to evolve the Inq model over time,” the source said.
When Mr Beecher launched the project, he said he was looking at a two- to three-year plan and was “reasonably cautious and realistic” but had seen an opportunity in the market for in-depth reporting as Australians were more willing to pay.