MEN Media, the publisher of the Manchester Evening News, has axed half of its marketing department and slashed advertising spend in a bid to cut costs.
The daily paper has cut its marketing staff numbers from 12 to six, and will increasingly focus on advertising through its own properties, such as its digital offering Channel M.
The job losses include a number of mid-tier marketers and the paper’s operations manager, although the publisher refused to give further details. The changes will also see marketing and communications director Elaine Derbyshire focus more on corporate communications.
Sports sponsorship manager Steve Wharton and promotions manager Caroline Roberts have kept their roles.
Derbyshire says: “As we are distributing more free papers, it demands a different mechanism.”
She also confirms that the marketing budget has been cut, but will not comment on its future advertising plans.
MEN Media, which is a subsidiary of Guardian Media Group, has undergone a number of redundancy rounds in the past couple of years.
It has also changed the distribution model for the Manchester Evening News, which is now given away free in the city centre.
The paper last month revealed that distribution of free copies has overtaken sales of the paid-for edition. The Audit Bureau of Circulations figures show the paper gave away 92,867 free copies in the city centre each weekday in June. It saw a fall in paid-for sales to about 88,000.
Separately, the Manchester Evening News is expected to win exclusive rights to distribute a free evening newspaper at Manchester Piccadilly station, as revealed on marketingweek.co.uk. This follows News International’s decision not to bid for the contract.