'I love to prove the naysayers wrong': Scire founder Chris Janz on launching a subs-led business publishing challenger
Welcome to an audio-led edition of Unmade.
Today’s edition features an interview with Chris Janz, co-founder of Australia’s biggest media launch of the year, Scire.
And further down, a good day on the Unmade Index for Ooh Media.
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‘We don’t have to wait until two o’clock in the morning’: Scire’s plans for an afternoon-focused Capital Brief
In today’s edition of The Unmakers, Chris Janz, co-founder of Scire, talks to Unmade’s Tim Burrowes about the company’s plans for its first publication, Capital Brief, which launches in around six weeks’ time.
Janz was previously chief digital and publishing officer of Nine, and in the running for the CEO vacancy which eventually went to Mike Sneesby in 2021. Earlier in his career, Janz edited News Corp’s news.com.au, before moving into business, including digital publishing company Allure Media which was later acquired by Fairfax Media. He was also publisher of the short-lived HuffPo Australia.
Janz, and Scire co-founder David Eisman, worked together on Fairfax’s now celebrated Blue Team, who led a secret project which saved the company’s newspapers, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from exiting from print.
Capital Brief will focus on business and, as Janz reveals in the interview, will put out its main newsletter in the afternoon, a new cadence compared to existing publications in the space.
This week Scire revealed a raft of new journalist appointments including former Australian Financial Review banking specialist Andrew Cornell, who led ANZ Blue Notes, which was perhaps the biggest brand-funded corporate newsroom in the country. Wall Street Journal correspondent Philip Wen, Nine’s departing foreign affairs and national security correspondent Anthony Galloway - who Janz says ‘understands how power really works’ - and ex-Sydney Morning Herald and The Age economics correspondent Jennifer Duke, who will be based in Canberra, are among the other new arrivals.
Others include Bronwen Clune covering startups; Jack Derwin covering markets and finance; Kate Burgess covering mining and energy; Laurel Henning covering the legal and regulatory beats; and Dan Van Boom covering technology.
They’ll all be led by Capital Brief’s editor-in-chief, John McDuling, Nine’s former national business editor, who was the first hire announced.
Capital Brief is intended to appeal to ‘those people driving the new economy, the new Australia’. Janz says it’ll be focused on what the ‘future of Australian business is all about’.
“One of the challenges of business journalism sometimes is it can drift into just servicing the big end of town. We hear a lot about the ASX200, the ASX50.”
“We’re about looking at the broad spectrum of Australian business as it is today and looking forward.”
Janz also discusses the investors behind the company, Shearwater Capital, and the rules of engagement if Scire journalists find themselves writing about the owners’ investments.
During his time at Nine, Janz was in the room for negotiations with Alphabet’s Google and Facebook under the shadow of the News Media Bargaining Code. After leaving Nine, he then helped overseas publishers with similar negotiations.
He has a pessimistic prediction for how the publishing environment will change when the previous deals expire. “The Meta renewals are up within the next 12-ish months. There’s a real challenge ahead for people who’ve built parts of their business off the back of that revenue. When you have what might be $100m a year disappearing from the funding models through Meta withdrawing from the country… I think it is going to pose a challenge.”
Mostly flat on the Unmade Index
After a blip two days ago, a slight positive performance resumed on the Unmade Index with a 0.14% bump that saw our measure of ASX-listed media and marketing stocks land at 669.4 points yesterday.
The largest stock on the Index happened to be a laggard. Nine dropped 0.48%, while rival radio companies Southern Cross Media and ARN Media fell 0.51% and 0.47% respectively.
Ooh Media saw a surge of 3.49% in its share price, while Domain climbed a modest 0.52%.
Time to leave you to your Thursday.
Today’s podcast was recorded and edited at the Sydney studio of Abe’s Audio the people to talk to about voiceovers, sound design and podcast production.
We’ll be back with more tomorrow.
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