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Wales’ biggest news publisher threatens jobs cuts after slump in advertising revenue

11 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Some of Reach Plc’s newspapers in Wales

Reach, whose titles in Wales include the Western Mail and Daily Post newspapers, is to axe 200 jobs as part of major cost-cutting following a slump in advertising revenue.

Shares in the company, which published the Daily Mirror, Express and Daily Star, plummeted by a quarter on Wednesday morning after a downbeat update from bosses.

The company, which is Wales’ biggest news publisher, told staff that it is cutting further roles across all parts of the business as it seeks to secure £30 million in cost savings this year.

In an internal email, it said: “Under the proposals we’re announcing today we anticipate that, regrettably, around 200 roles of current employees will be made redundant.”

Reach said it will slash costs through the “simplification of central support functions, supply chain efficiencies in print and distribution, and accelerated removal of editorial duplication”.

The publisher saw hundreds of journalists take part in strike action in August last year during a dispute over pay. Further action was halted after workers accepted an improved pay deal.

It came as the newspaper group said advertising revenues were “lower than expected” over the last three months of 2022 as clients pulled back their spending around Black Friday and Christmas.

Uncertainty

Reach added that continued uncertainty in the economy has weighed further on “market demand” for advertising and campaigns.

Print advertising tumbled by more than a fifth while digital revenues dropped by 5.9% over the three months to December 25.

The firm highlighted that circulation revenue improved by 1.8% as a result of price increases, but overall revenues were still lower than expected due to the advertising slump.

Operating profits for last year will be below market expectations as a result, the company said.

Reach chief executive Jim Mullen said: “We expect current market headwinds will continue during 2023 and have therefore taken decisive action, putting in place a further cost reduction plan.

“This will ensure we retain our strong foundations and are able to continue investing in our digital growth priorities, which position us to benefit strongly when the economic environment improves.”

Chris Morley, Reach NUJ national coordinator, said: “Reach’s announcement of big job cuts – on top of the shedding of journalists’ roles around the group over the last few months of 2022 – has come as a grim and unwelcome start to the new year.

“We are today urgently seeking more clarity on these proposals and where the company thinks it can make cuts without harming its core business.

“Our members are clear that for the company to succeed, it must protect the creation of quality journalism and original content and that means limiting as much as possible any cuts to editorial staffing.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Reach indicated no job loses were anticipated in Wales at present: “As announced today, we expect the macroeconomic climate to remain challenging in 2023 and have therefore taken decisive action, putting a comprehensive cost reduction plan in place across the company.

“However we’re not anticipating major changes in our Welsh operations at this stage.”


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Mrs Trellis
Mrs Trellis
27 days ago

They’ve almost single-handedly destroyed impartial, local news sites across the UK by churning out their terrible ‘online’ and ‘live’ clickbait factories. There’s very little evidence of actual journalism in the traditional sense. I’m surprised they employ anyone – I assumed everything was generated automatically by software!

Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
27 days ago
Reply to  Mrs Trellis

Well said i personally have stopped buying their products for quite some time,it wouldn’t matter if they went bust. Support independent new like Nation.Cymru

Iago
Iago
27 days ago

TalesOnline doesn’t have any real news stories of any benefit for Wales. It’s just an extension of social media. The only decent media in Wales is Welsh language media which covers news relevant to both Welsh and English language speaking areas of Wales. If you read just English language media in Wales you wouldn’t know the Welsh language existed.

John Ty Isa
John Ty Isa
26 days ago

This move by Reach will only result in a further deterioration in the service provided to readers. The redundancies will be snapped up by those experienced journalists still left at Reach leaving young, newly released from university ‘reporters’ who rely almost completely on social media for their so-called stories.

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