Guardian and BBC announce job cuts as pandemic continues to affect media industry

MEDIA INDUSTRY SUFFERING STAFF REDUCTIONS

The Guardian has announced plans to cut 12 per cent of its workforce after revealing the Covid-19 crisis has cost the publisher £25million.

Guardian Media Group told staff it expects to cut around 180 jobs, with 70 expected to be lost from editorial. The remaining cuts will affect the advertising, marketing, Guardian Jobs and events divisions.

Guardian editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, and the Guardian Media Group chief executive, Annette Thomas, said in a joint statement to staff the company would face “unsustainable annual losses in future years unless we take decisive action” to reduce costs.

“We have already identified many millions of pounds of cost savings over the past few months, which include deferring the company-wide pay rise, placing around 100 colleagues’ roles on furlough, reducing the size of the executive committee, reducing the use of casual staff, and making major reductions in our marketing, travel and other budgets across the organisation,” they said.

“It is clear that we will need to make significant cost savings, and change the way we work, and we are sorry to tell you that this will mean that there will be job losses over the coming months.”

The news was announced as Guardian Media Group published its results for the 2019-20 financial year covering 12 months to the end of March.

The results showed that company revenues had fallen by 0.4 per cent to £223.5m; however, GMG said there was “good growth” in subscription and reader contributions to offset declines in advertising and newsstand sales.

The cash endowment fund which sustains the Scott Trust intended to keep the Guardian running in perpetuity was down from £1.013bn to £954m.

As with many news sites reporting a surge in online metrics during the pandemic, the Guardian’s digital platforms saw a record 1.5bn unique browsers generating 16.4bn page views during 2019/20, an increase of over 20 per cent on the prior year.

BBC News has today announced it will need to cut 70 more jobs than previously expected as a result of Covid-19.

In total 520 jobs from BBC News will be cut, including the 450 job cuts that were announced as part of an £80m savings plan affecting News in January, which had been put on hold during the pandemic.

The latest round of cuts will see Politics Live return for four days a week, instead of the pre-Covid Monday to Friday, and BBC Parliament to focus on live coverage of elected chambers and no longer commission bespoke programmes.

The Andrew Neil Show, which has already been off air during the pandemic, will disappear from BBC schedules. BBC Media editor Amol Rajan suggested the Andrew Neil Show “was originally commissioned because of an intervention by Tony Hall, but he is leaving as director general in September.”

Other cost-cutting measures include reducing the pool of presenters: BBC News will have fewer reporters overall and correspondents will report for a number of programmes.

A separate decision to cut 450 jobs in the BBC’s regional newsrooms was announced earlier this month and will affect regional TV bulletins and the Inside Out programme.

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