FEDERAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
The Federal Publishing Company Pty Ltd (FPC) began in 1934 with the launch of the Randwick District News by Norman Hannan (1895–1973).
The Hannan family amassed their fortune after the arrival of Francis Hannan (1854–1907) from Ireland (via New Zealand) through butcheries and Sydney real estate. In 1958, the company acquired the Double Bay Courier in partnership with Ezra Norton. In the early 1960s, the Hannan family became embroiled in aggressive suburban power-plays involving the Murdoch, Packer and Fairfax groups, resulting in Eastern Suburbs Newspapers, half-owned by the Hannans and half by Suburban Publications Pty Ltd (a Fairfax and Packer joint venture), with five newspapers turned into three: the Wentworth Courier, the Weekly Courier and the Southern News.
FPC began to develop its printing empire in 1968 with the acquisition of its first web-offset press and the establishment of Hannanprint in Sydney, by Michael Hannan. By the early 1980s, the company was at the forefront of changing print technology, printing colour on gloss for its Courier newspapers in 1985. By 1986, it had the largest printing facility in the southern hemisphere. In 1995, the company acquired full ownership of two large printing companies—Inprint Ltd and Offset Alpine Printing.
The company expanded into distribution with Newsagents Direct Distribution in 1987. In the 1980s and 1990s, FPC developed a magazine publishing sector with leisure and special-interest magazines such as Two Wheels and Modern Boating.
In 1998, the various arms of FPC merged under a new company banner, IPMG (Independent Print Media Group), half owned by the Hannan family and half by Marinya Media. It bought the Sydney Weekly (a local newspaper covering Sydney’s north shore) and City Weekly (a CBD commuter publication) from Text Media, and launched Super Food Ideas. IPMG diversified into custom publishing with the establishment of Brandmedia in 1999. The following year, FPC Magazines reorganised its magazine stable into FPC Living (lifestyle, homemaker) and FPC Power (men’s special interest, websites), and acquired another Sydney commuter magazine, Nine to Five.
The acquisition of Australian Good Taste in 2002 saw FPC become the leading publisher of food magazines in Australia. The magazine side of the company expanded further through a licensing deal with Condé Nast to publish a range of Vogue titles. In 2003, IPMG became 100 per cent owned by the Hannan family. FPC Courier, the company’s stable of suburban newspapers, acquired new titles on the Sunshine Coast and the Kiama Independent, Lake Times and Northern Leader from the Weston family in 2005. This arm of the FPC company was rebranded as Southern Independent Publishers.
In 2007, IPMG sold Southern Independent Publishing (including FPC Magazines and FPC Courier) to News Limited, a total of 46 newspapers, magazines and online titles. The online armof the business was re-branded as Independent Digital Media (IDM).
REFs: G. Souter, Company of Heralds (1981); http:// www.hannanprint.com.au/our-company/history.
MEGAN LE MASURIER