Trinity Mirror’s Bailey On Cuts: We Can’t Cling To The Past

In the phone call to discuss half-year earnings Thursday morning, a technical glitch prevented Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) CEO Sly Bailey from hearing any questions from analysts.

That’s unfortunate, given the news publisher is growing profit only from cost cuts at present…

ContentWatch layoffs

One of the main areas from which cuts are being wrung currently is implementing the same newsroom modernisation at Trinity Mirror’s national papers (The Mirror, Sunday Mirror, People, Daily Record, Sunday Mail) that has already happened at some regionals, starting with Media Wales.

The implementation of ContentWatch production software, planned by September, is proving controversial, leading to 200 redundancies – mainly subeditors, including 60 casuals.

But Bailey told analysts (if, indeed, any were on the call) this would result in a “complete step change in how we publish across the group” and “more efficient multimedia newsrooms for our national newsrooms” because it involves the “outsourcing of elements of the subbing process, the merger of news and features on each title and the full integration of print and digital publishing”.

“Our traditional skills and processes must change to embrace emerging platforms – no newspaper can, or indeed should, cling to existing practices – we must evolve, just as the media is evolving.”

Local business listings

“Increasing numbers of consumers turn to the web to find local business services. LocalMole is already generating annual revenue in excess of £1.2 million, and I expect continued strong growth going forward.”

Bailey said the specialist soccer site, spun out from by digital director Matt Kelly last year, hit “record” traffic of three million (unique users per month?), driven by the World Cup. But this was inevitable since, as Bailey acknowledged, the growth was “from a standing start” and because it was indeed a World Cup year.

Interestingly, though, Bailey said: “The site will be profitable in 2010.”