Telegraph Media Group is to outsource its print advertising sales to Mail Metro Media – a major decision that could be a catalyst for greater changes among UK media owners.
TMG said print advertising for The Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, Telegraph Magazine, Stella and special premium magazines throughout the year (such as the Luxury portfolio) will be sold by Mail Metro Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, Metro and i, from 4 May.
TMG said: “A number of Telegraph talent will move across to Mail Metro Media, to work on print advertising sales only for the TMG publications for the duration of the agreement, making sure there is a smooth transition and adding a wealth of expertise to the advertising department.
“This transition will allow The Telegraph to focus on the growth of its partnerships team, who will work more closely with brands to support the delivery of their corporate and marketing objectives through their premium audience via print, digital and live journalism.”
It is understood that around 50 ad sales roles will be cut at TMG.
Some staff are expected to transfer to Mail Metro Media but the remainder will exit.
TMG does not disclose ad sales figures but an industry source estimated it had ad revenues of more than £50m and close to £40m is in print.
Around three-quarters of TMG's turnover comes from reader revenues, chiefly subscription, as part of a strategic ambition to hit one million subscribers and 10 million registered users by 2023.
Nick Hugh, chief executive of Telegraph Media Group, said: “The advertising landscape is calling out for an easier route to purchase, and today’s agreement enables The Telegraph to fulfil these requirements and future proof the business.
“This change will allow the team at The Telegraph to continue to focus on its successful subscriptions-first strategy, and achieving our overall strategic goal of one million subscribers by 2023.”
Grant Woodthorpe, executive director, investment, at Mail Metro Media said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Telegraph Media Group and representing their advertising print sales. We look forward to expanding our portfolio and taking a fresh approach to market, offering even more great solutions to our customers and streamlining access and organisational approaches, while maintaining exceptional standards across both businesses.”
It is understood TMG was considering outsourcing its print ad sales since before the pandemic.
As part of its move away from advertising, TMG took the decision to “significantly downsize” its branded content division, Spark, in June 2020.
TMG already out-sources the printing of its newspapers to News UK.
Collaboration between national newspaper groups was once unthinkable because of their rivalry but they have been more willing to work together as advertising money has shifted online, chiefly to Google and Facebook.
TMG, News UK, Guardian Media Group and Reach are all investors in The Ozone Project, a joint digital ad sales house, which launched in 2018.