Business

Jobs fears at Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life owners INM

The former Belfast Telegraph building. Photo: Hugh Russell

THIRTY jobs are under threat at Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life and other group titles after their publisher Independent News & Media outlined a three-year strategic plan aimed at growing digital revenues and working towards a more sustainable business model.

INM, which also publishes the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, The Herald and Sunday World, is currently undertaking a 30-day consultation with affected staff.

It says it expects up to 23 editorial roles to go along with eight non-editorial roles under the plan, which will see an investment of around €5 million (£4.4m) in upgrading its IT and digital capabilities.

INM chief executive Michael Doorly said the company needed to optimise revenues, reduce costs and better respond to changing audience needs.

“The key challenges are declining circulation volumes and contracting advertising revenues. The major opportunity which we need to take is in increased digital revenues.

“While INM continues to be profitable, we recognise that the existing business model is not sustainable over the medium term and we need, as a matter of urgency, to stabilise and grow our ­business.

“In order to do that, we need to put our customers at the heart of everything we do. We have seen a marked shift in consumer behaviour from newspaper to mobile consumption of news and content and INM must adapt accordingly.”

In the first half of 2018, INM reported a pre-tax profit of €11.5m on revenues of €95m, down 22.8 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively on the previous year.

Last month it emerged that journalists at the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life are to vote on industrial action after a five per cent pay claim was rejected and INM offered a 1 per cent pay increase.

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