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Regional daily publisher set to cut more than 50 jobs

Bel Tel todayThe publisher of one of the UK’s biggest regional dailies is looking to cut 10pc of its workforce after announcing a new voluntary redundancy scheme.

Mediahius Ireland owns the Belfast Telegraph and its stablemate Sunday Life as well as a number of national and regional titles in the Republic of Ireland.

It is now looking to cut more than 50 posts from its overall publishing operation, which currently numbers 549 full-time equivalent roles.

The company says it plans to reinvest savings from the VR scheme into new digital products in the expectation that by 2030, 70pc of its revenues will come from digital sources.

Belgian-based Mediahuis entered the UK regional news market in 2019 when it bought Independent News and Media for €145.6m.

It said in a statement today: “Over the last five years, the fundamental nature of this publishing company has changed from a newspaper business to a media organisation which is managing both print and digital.

“Our two traditional revenue streams, single copy sales and print advertising, are still our most important, but both are under pressure. Certainly they are being replaced by revenues from digital subscribers and digital advertising, but at a slower pace.

“Mediahuis Group estimates that this year 70 per cent of our revenue will come from print and 30 per cent from digital, but by 2030 we foresee that it will be a 30-70 ratio of print-digital.”

“Our digital investment continues apace, with growth in podcasting and local news in particular, but simultaneously with this we need to manage our traditional cost base.

“To remain a successful news organisation into the future and continue to play a central role in journalism on the island of Ireland, we need to adapt to the landscape in which we are functioning and to the changing needs of our customers.

“As such we are seeking a reduction in staffing levels of approximately 10% across our publishing organisation.

“Savings from the Voluntary Redundancy Programme will allow the business to invest in new products, target new audiences and make our brands more resilient, and more customer-oriented for readers and advertisers alike.

Chief executive Peter Vandermeersch added: “Journalism is the absolute core of our business, but all over the world, media companies are struggling with the same dilemma – how to generate sufficient revenues to finance our ambition to produce excellent journalism.

“I am convinced that our strategy is the right one: to restructure our business to make this a leaner, more streamlined news organisation with the most efficient processes and systems possible, while continuing to produce the highest quality journalism and diversifying our revenues to build a sustainable future for our company.”