I wanted to write personally to you with news which is of vital importance to the future of our company. I am confident about that future. We have one of the strongest and best-loved brands in the market today. We have a global digital audience that continues to expand significantly. We have talented and innovative people throughout our business.
When I last wrote in December, I made clear how difficult our commercial situation was. That position has not improved and, if anything, has deteriorated. Print advertising has declined sharply in the first quarter of 2013 while newspaper sales continue to contract. This trend makes the reality facing us clear. We must adapt and transform how we function as a business and urgently diversify our revenue streams, to guarantee our position in the longer term.
Over the past few years, we have gone a long way in beginning the process of change. However, it has not gone far, or deep enough. As a result, we must move now to complete our transition to a digital business. To do that we need to invest significantly and I am today announcing an £8m investment in our digital future, our number one priority.
We are also going to have to restructure our editorial operation to produce a root and branch change in the way we function. To this end, it will be merged into one unified operation, serving digital and print products on a 24/7 basis. This operation will require the very best digital talent available. We will therefore be creating around 50 new digitally focused jobs over the next six months – a strong and positive sign of our faith in the future. Any such change of course also requires difficult choices, and regrettably we expect to lose around 80, mostly print-based, editorial positions. Other areas of the business will also be reviewed in due course.
That is only part of the change, because we need to bring a new, sharp focus to our editorial operation to ensure that digital takes the leading role. As you are aware, we have already appointed a chief digital officer to lead our product strategy. I am also creating the new position of director of content. This person will be responsible for all aspects of the editorial operation. The principal task of the role will be to oversee the establishment of an all encompassing operation, to transform newsroom culture into a dynamic process with our digital products at its core, and to recruit the best talent – across web, tablet and smartphone. I have asked Richard Ellis to take this role on an acting basis while a global search is undertaken for a candidate. Tony Gallagher and Ian MacGregor will continue to produce world-class newspapers, reporting to the director of content.
Our job now is to refocus all our energy and skill on completing our journey and becoming the world's foremost English-language multimedia news and content provider. It is an exciting prospect, and although there will be difficult days in the coming months, I would appreciate your understanding and support as we transform TMG.
Finally, let me add that I will write to you again later this month, as promised, with information about this year's pay review.
Telegraph Media Group