Evening Standard To Cut A Third Of Jobs
The publisher of the free evening Standard newspaper will cut a third of its staff-115 jobs-due to falling advertising revenue, the Guardian writes. The owner of the publication, Yevgeny Lebedev, the son of banker Alexander Lebedev, received a life peerage from the government of Boris Johnson a week ago.
In particular, 69 out of 167 journalists and editors will be dismissed, another 31 employees will be dismissed from the commercial Department, and 15 from the distribution Department. The company is not going to close the paper edition, but from now on, it will focus on developing the online version and organizing events.
"The restructuring will come at a difficult time for the industry, with the coronavirus pandemic making the situation worse," said Charles Yardley who became CEO of the Evening Standard in June. He added that he sees a great chance for the newspaper to become a leading London media platform.
Advertising revenue accounts for 80% of the Evening Standard's revenue, the Guardian recalls. The crisis caused by the pandemic hit the publication hard, as advertisers froze ad spending or even began to recall previously placed orders. In March, amid lockdown, the newspaper's circulation dropped to just over 400,000 copies, as copies are usually distributed to transport passengers. In April, some employees had their pay cut by 20%, while others were put on unpaid leave. The issue of ES weekly was suspended until September.
Even before the pandemic, the publication lost 40 million pounds in three years.
Lebedev became a life peer on August 1 and was given the chance to enter the House of Lords. The Guardian recalls that he has owned the newspaper since 2009 and that he became friends with Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London. In 2018, Lebedev sold 30% of Evening Standard to a Cayman offshore company. In June 2020, journalist Emily Sheffield, the sister of former Prime Minister David Cameron's wife, became editor of the Evening Standard. Before her, the editor of the publication was former Finance Minister George Osborne. Now he is the editor-in-chief. In 2019, the Evening Standard recorded a pre-tax loss of 13.6 million pounds.
Lebedev also controls the independent, which now operates only online.
The Evening Standard and Independent Newspapers were bought in 2009-2010 by Alexander Lebedev for symbolic money. Since then, the Lebedevs have spent millions of pounds on financial support for publications.