The Canberra Times

Enhance your current platform capabilities along with your company's competitive position.


To keep up with consumer demand and stay ahead of the competition, The Canberra Times needed the technological capability to deliver online subscription capabilities and develop a deeper understanding of their customer's preferences.


Fairfax is Australia's leading media company in print and online, serving its communities through high-quality, independent journalism and dynamic venues for commerce and information. Key publications include The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The Australian Financial Review, BRW and The Sun-Herald. In addition, Fairfax publishes regional and community newspapers, financial and consumer magazines, and provides online, interactive and e-commerce services.

Fairfax Digital is Australia's premier network of online news, information and classified websites. These sites are as diverse as the audiences they attract, covering news and information, sport, entertainment, business, travel, lifestyle, technology, automotive, real estate, employment and dating.

Fairfax distributes their publications via a number of channels including point of sale / retail, via subscription in both hard copy and digital, to millions of subscribers.

The Problem

In 2011, not all of the Fairfax portfolio of publications supported the option for customers to subscribe online, despite its significant circulation volume, this included the Canberra Times. Customers could only purchase their subscription via phone and the papers Leadership Team were aware of the negative discrepancies this afforded both their bottom line, including the risk of stagnating market share and limiting their revenue stream from advertisers.

To keep up with consumer demand and stay ahead of the competition, The Canberra Times needed the technological capability to deliver online subscription capabilities.

The Solution

After a strategic review of the business with NetReturn Consulting, which included an analysis of the current technology infrastructure and back end systems, a design was developed which utilised the existing infrastructure and complemented the Fairfax website.

A user-friendly front end enabling subscription services was implemented along with extensive integration with back end billing and delivery systems to ensure streamlined workflows. In addition, NetReturn Consulting provided change management throughout the duration of the project to ensure the new systems were successfully implemented.

With subscribers able to purchase their subscription to The Canberra Times online, Fairfax are also able to profile their customers by collecting their preferences and demographic information. This enables Fairfax to provide the subscriber with a richer experience as some content is personalised according to the customers preferences, such as promotions.

In turn, this deeper, understanding of the customer base provides Fairfax with more meaningful customer insights to share with potential advertisers, supporting more targeted campaigns and an increased revenue stream.

Business Benefits

Since implementation in 2011, The Canberra Times has seen an increase in the volume of subscriptions along with cost benefits associated with more efficient processing of routine transactions. In addition, as workflows have been largely automated, the publishing group has experienced cost reductions associated with headcount in their call centres as customers opt to subscribe or renew their subscriptions online. Efficiencies are also enjoyed from an IT perspective, as Fairfax IT are able to manage the solution, on an ongoing basis.

Finally, the content of The Canberra Times is better aligned with customer requirements as the rich profiling insights Fairfax obtains from customers, ensures an excellent customer experience is maximised. These insights also support advertising sales as advertisers increasingly wish to tailor campaigns to a particular demographic.