The Guardian announces plans to cut 180 jobs after £25m revenue drop

Coronavirus pandemic leaves ‘unstable financial outlook’ for newspaper, say bosses – on day BBC announces its own new round of cuts

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Wednesday 15 July 2020 19:08
The Guardian remains committed to maintaining the free-to-read nature of the newspapers’ website
The Guardian remains committed to maintaining the free-to-read nature of the newspapers’ website

The Guardian could see up to 180 jobs cut after a £25m drop in revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The viral crisis has created an “unsustainable financial outlook”, the paper’s editor-in-chief Katherine Viner and Guardian Media Group chief executive Annette Thomas said in a joint statement.

Revenues were expected to be down by more than £25m on the year’s budget, the bosses added on Wednesday – the same day as the BBC announced that its own jobs cull would go even further than planned.

Guardian Media Group, the parent company of The Guardian and The Observer, faces “unsustainable annual losses in future years unless we take decisive action” to reduce costs, Ms Viner and Ms Thomas said.

The proposed cuts could see up to 180 jobs lost. Of those, 110 would be from departments such as advertising, Guardian Jobs, marketing roles and Guardian Live events, while 70 would come from editorial.

Ms Viner and Ms Thomas said they both remained committed to maintaining the free-to-read nature of the newspapers’ website and not following the paywall model adopted by others.

“Despite the pressures that coronavirus has placed on our business, our unique reader relationship model has proved successful, and the strategy of the past few years has been the right one,” they said.

The plans were announced alongside the Guardian Media Group’s results for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which showed a slight dip in revenue to £223.5m before the pandemic hit – though growth from reader contributions made up for a fall in advertising income.

It came as the BBC announced on Wednesday it would axe The Andrew Neil Show, which has been off air during the coronavirus crisis. The corporation said it was talking to Mr Neil about a new BBC One interview programme.

It also said around 520 jobs would be culled from its news staff of about 6,000 people, including the 450 job losses announced in January as part of attempts to save £80m, which were then put on hold.

The corporation previously announced the axing of more than 150 roles in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland last month.

Last week, Reach, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers, also announced it would reduce its workforce by around 12 per cent in a bid to cut costs by £35m.

It did not give details about where the job cuts would be made, but said it wanted to become a “streamlined, efficient organisation” with “more focused” editorial, advertising and central operations.

The company said it would look to bring together national and regional editorial teams in a more centralised structure, while closing some local commercial and finance sites, and simplifying its management structure.

However, the company said it would also end the recent temporary pay cut for all staff – except senior executives and board members – and invest more heavily in its digital operations.

In April, UK news publishers warned they faced losing £50m in revenues this summer due to brands using “blocklist” technology to prevent their adverts from appearing next to stories about the coronavirus outbreak.