Northcliffe Media is planning to scale down the 40-strong sales team which handles national display advertising for its regional titles.
The work is expected to be outsourced to the independent sales house, Mediaforce, which already performs the same function for Johnston Press.
In a statement yesterday, the company said the 40 sales staff would be deployed in new roles in the short term but admitted there may be job losses in the longer-term.
Northcliffe Media has entered a period of consultation with the employees affected, the majority of which are located in London and Manchester.
At present, all national display and recruitment advertising is handled through Northcliffe’s in-house national sales team.
The proposed changes would see the display advertising outsourced, whilst recruitment advertising would remain with the in-house staff.
Commercial director David Roddick said: “The proposed changes would provide significant benefits in terms of Northcliffe Media’s ability to drive long-term revenue development on a sustainable cost base.
“Many publishing groups already work with external media sales houses and it may be that outsourcing our display advertising to a company such as Mediaforce, which already handles regional sales for several large local publishers, could ensure significant economies of scale as well as offering the opportunity to present a more rounded offering to the market.
“Outsourcing our display advertising to a media agency could enable customers to plan national coverage for a campaign, whilst continuing to achieve the depth of connection with local communities, which are a key audience for advertisers.
“Should this kind of change occur, all existing sales staff – in the region of 40 – would be accommodated into new roles in the short term but there may be some unavoidable long term displacements as a result.”