Redundancies, cut-backs and directors’ pay rises

Against a background of staff lay-offs at many national newspapers, cut-backs in editorial budgets and ad revenue falls, the following details from two of the country’s largest publishing groups are published here with no further comment.

Unless, of course, you wish to post a comment on our blog below.

Fact No1
Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey was given a pay rise of almost 50 per cent last year, as her remuneration shot to £1.47 million.

Bailey’s pay package was made up of a £700,000 salary and a £755,000 bonus, plus £11,000 in expenses, according to the company’s annual report. She was paid an additional £231,000 for her pension contribution. Her bonus payment was just £15,000 adrift of the maximum she could have received.

Fact No2
This year’s pay settlement for the ever-decreasing number of journalists at Trinity Mirror looks likely to be set at 3 per cent.

Fact No3
Ad revenues at Trinity Mirror’s national titles – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – fell by 10.3 per cent in 2006, while the Scottish national titles, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, recorded a 5 per cent fall.

At its sports division – basically the Racing Post – advertising revenues increased by 3.1 per cent year on year.

Under a strategic review, Bailey is selling off the daily racing title.

Former Mirror editor-turned-media-commentator Roy Greenslade asks what Bailey has done to be paid a bonus:

“A bonus for what? For deciding that her company wasn’t good enough at running its regional newspapers well enough to keep them all in its stable?

“For failing to invest adequate resources in the company’s national newspapers? For allowing the Scottish newspapers to stand by and watch their rivals surpass them? For deciding to sell off one of the company’s genuine market leaders, the Racing Post?

Fact No4 is reporting that Les Hinton, the executive chairman of News International, looks to have taken home a £2.1 million pay packet last year. The figure is contained within annual report of NewsCorp Investments, and relates to the company’s “highest-paid director”.

That represents a pay rise for that director of 5 per cent from 2005.

The document showed total remuneration for the directors was £2.7 million, up from £2.4 million in 2005.

This compares with a total wages and salaries bill of £287.3 million for the company’s 5,800 employees, which includes newspaper, magazine and publishing divisions.

Fact No5
The same company report shows that in the company’s newspaper division, which includes The Times, The Sun, News of the World and the Sunday Times, profits fell to £102.1 million from £136.2 million the previous year.

Shareholder revolt?