Future for local and regional media - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Supplementary written evidence submitted by Enders Analysis

  First, some context in terms of media employment generally. The following employee numbers are for UK media (some of these figures are Enders Analysis estimates).
Commercial Radio7,000
Commercial TV41,000
UK National Press26,000
UK Regional Press42,000
UK Mags25,000
UK B2B Media29,000
Ad Agencies100,000
Distribution & ancilliary services 80,000
Exhibitions and other b2B non-print19,333

  Press represents more than 50% of total UK media employment at about 200,000 people. Newspapers alone directly employ 68,000 people, and at the end of Q1 2009 we estimate 6,000 newspaper staff had been made redundant during the previous 12 months. While things have been relatively quiet in recent weeks we expect another flurry of redundancies later in the year. Our belief is that newspaper publishers continue to assume that revenues will bottom out and return, while our belief is that any "recovery" will be brief and slight.

  Until last year, employment in national papers had been steadily rising, and even in local newspapers the figures held relatively steady, due to the resource demands of online. Some national titles grew their staff numbers by 10-15% between 2001 and 2007 to cope with their growing websites.

  The above numbers relate to permanent, generally full-time (or near full-time) staff. Therefore, they do not include the very large pool of freelance writers and photographers and in some cases sub-editors and even editing support that the newspaper and magazine industries use. Not only have these numbers fallen in absolute terms (though it is difficult to measure, given the informal nature of freelance engagement), but frequency of usage has declined by at least 30%, and in the majority of cases there has also been a rate or contractual re-negotiation in the last 12 months.

  As a result of these conditions, it is not surprising that the downturn is compromising the growth of digital jobs for young school leavers and graduates who were being absorbed into such jobs previously. While it's hard to get hard and fast numbers on this, in simple terms there is an informal "recruitment freeze" hanging over the whole industry. No one calls it this of course, but some people would describe it as such in private. Nevertheless, publishers continue to recognise there is also a need to take on young people who are both cheap and engage with digital publishing. So while the numbers of trainee employees are down from where they have been in recent years, they are not falling away entirely. There is a need to push expensive and often less flexible (in terms of technologies and multi tasking) journalists out. For example, redundancies at some of the national titles have evidently focused on expensive specialists, while young generalists have been brought in.

June 2009

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