UK newspaper publisher to cut 550 jobs on virus fallout

An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed in London on February 9, 2018 shows the front pages of the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express. The publisher of Britain's left-wing Daily Mirror struck a £126.7 million deal on Friday to buy a series of titles including the right-wing Daily Express in a bid to stem a decline in advertising revenues and sales.

Daniel Sorabji / AFP

UNITED KINGDOM - Reach, publisher of UK newspapers Daily Mirror and Daily Express, plans to axe about 550 jobs as the coronavirus forces readers online and slashes advertising revenues, it said Tuesday.

"Structural change in the media sector has accelerated during the pandemic and this has resulted in increased adoption of our digital products," Reach chief executive Jim Mullen said in a statement.

"However, due to reduced advertising demand, we have not seen commensurate increases in digital revenue."

Reach said the company plans a reduction in headcount of about 550 staff, or 12 percent of its workforce -- as it looks to make annual cost savings of £35 million ($43 million).

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The company, which owns also a number of UK regional newspapers, said the restructuring would cost the group £20 million.

"Editorial will move to a more centralised structure bringing together national and regional teams across print and digital to significantly increase efficiency and remove duplication while maintaining the strong editorial identity of our news brands," Reach said. 

The company will also have "fewer locations and a simpler management structure", the statement said.

Reach added that its revenue slumped 27.5 percent in the second quarter, "impacted by reductions in circulation and advertising".