Ziff-Davis change licensees in Australia

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SYDNEY -- Kerry Packer's Australian Consolidated Press has ceased publishing two of its best known computer titles, licensed from U.S.-based IT publisher Ziff-Davis, as a result of dropping advertising revenue and increasing online competition.

PC Week, ACP's flagship weekly newspaper, closed abruptly earlier this month, announcing the end of its 10-year agreement with Ziff-Davis. ACP also closed the local edition of Ziff-Davis' monthly PC Magazine after a 12-month struggle for circulation and advertising.

This week Ziff-Davis announced that PC Magazine will continue to be published here under license by ACP's competitor, APN Computer Group, a subsidiary of Tony O'Reilly's Australian Provincial Newspapers Holdings Ltd, which will merge one of its own computer titles, Windows Sources Australia, into PC Magazine.

Industry sources point to PC Week's decline in readership and advertising this year as in line with a general downturn in computer publishing. ACP's computer titles are down to 949 pages in total for January-April compared with 1,299 pages last year, according to MMS Media Services.

However, ACP's two wholly-owned titles, Australian Personal Computer and PC User, have each gained about 20% in circulation this past year, driven by expensive CD-ROM giveaways. Industry sources said advertisers were focusing more on general media and, to a lesser extent, the Internet.

Copyright May 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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