Axel Springer announces cuts, with BILD and WELT set to go digital only

Europe’s largest publishing house, Axel Springer, has today announced that it intends to improve earnings by around €100m over the next 3yrs, through a combined revenue increase and cost-savings strategy. The company’s existing workforce will be reduced, with further changes being made to its organisational structure.

‘Cuts and investments must be made at the same time in order to secure growth and profitability,’ the company said in a statement.

Investments will be made primarily in digital projects, first and foremost in journalistic quality, and in technologies for contemporary production. While AS is seeking to protect editorial positions as much as possible, and efforts are being made to avoid involuntary redundancies, CEO Mathias Döpfner said that it was impossible to ensure that additional savings would not be made in this area:

“This is not a job guarantee. We will part with colleagues in the editorial teams if certain profiles no longer fit the required skills… Our goal is ‘Digital Only’. Print is still profitable today and indispensable for readers and advertising clients. That’s why the complete switch to digital will still take a few years. But we have to prepare for it and actively tackle the transformation.”

The company says it remains committed to quality journalism, and that the restructured organization of BILD and WELT will be managed in a more decentralized, independent, entrepreneurial way, with more proximity to the market and customers.

Both brand groups will be supported by a strong marketing unit, headed by Christoph Eck-Schmidt and Julia Wehrle. The supporting central functions, consisting of Finance, Controlling, Human Resources and Legal, will be significantly leaner under the leadership of Ralf Hermanns. Technological Product Development, headed by Samir Fadlallah, is moving even closer to the brands and their newsrooms to enable the best possible cooperation between editorial staff and developers.

You can read the release in full here.