Sunday, April 24, 2016

Media: Financial Times Facing 'Daunting Conditions’, New York Times To Lay Off Hundreds

First up, Politico on the FT:

Warning of ‘tough times ahead’ as UK newspaper industry hammered by advertising slump.
LONDON — The Financial Times is braced for “daunting trading conditions,” its managing editor has warned, in the latest sign of the severe challenges hitting the U.K.’s newspaper industry.

Newspapers including the Guardian, Independent and Times have announced drastic moves in recent weeks as they search for ways to secure their futures amid vast changes in media consumption. The FT, which appeared to be better positioned to weather the storm than many of its Fleet Street peers, is also feeling the squeeze.

“We are facing some daunting trading conditions in 2016,” the managing editor James Lamont warned FT staff this week in an internal memo seen by POLITICO.

Despite its high-value readership, the financial newspaper has not been immune to the painful trends afflicting its general-interest rivals: Print advertising has had another bad start to the year, while the digital news business is also proving to be precarious.

The FT’s commercial team is “braced for tough times in the months ahead,” Lamont said.
The memo indicated four areas where costs will be cut back: There’ll be a delay in filling job vacancies. Travel and entertainment expenses will be slashed. Casual staff will only be brought in when “strictly necessary.” And there’ll be more pressure to streamline production of the print edition.
“It’s far better to take precautionary measures than find ourselves playing catch-up later in the year if the trading conditions do not improve,” Lamont said. “We will review our performance at the end of the second quarter.”

The warning will raise eyebrows elsewhere in London media circles, since the FT had been perceived as one of the leaders among the traditional newspaper businesses at repositioning itself in a rapidly-changing landscape.

With the advantage of a well-off audience and specialized financial content, the FT has been able to build a base of paying digital customers — and reduce dependence on the print versions — more quickly than its general-interest competitors. While most newspapers still rely on their print editions for the majority of their income, even though they’ve built big online readerships, the FT now gets as much revenue from its digital products....MORE
And from the New York Post:

New York Times plans to cut hundreds of jobs later this year
The New York Times Co. is preparing to lay off a few hundred staffers in the second half of the year, The Post has learned.

Chairman and Publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr.’s management team has been talking with some of the Times’ unions to come to a deal to provide reduced severance to those affected, sources told The Post.

“There’s a goal of a couple of hundred people,” said a source familiar with talks. “They don’t want to pay out big packages, and they’re having negotiations with the unions.”

The layoffs would likely occur between the Aug. 21 end of the summer Olympics in Brazil and Election Day on Nov. 8, sources said.

A union source confirmed there are ongoing talks about reducing severance pay, but wasn’t aware of lay-off plans at this time.

The Gray Lady is also looking at either a radical downsizing or closure of its Paris office, and has been moving people to London, where it can have better control of letting staff go, since French law makes it very difficult and expensive for companies to lay off workers, one source said....MORE