Steve Auckland, Northcliffe Media’s new managing director, is to undertake a wide-ranging review of the group’s 115 regional newspapers which could result in the closure or change in frequency of some titles, according to a report today.
Auckland, who previously ran DMGT’s national daily freesheet Metro, indicated that Northcliffe needed to radically revamp its portfolio of titles.
“If you have got stacks of titles and lots of loss-makers and lots publishing six days a week and not making money you have got to look at the portfolio,” he told the Guardian.
“I want a step change. It might be harsh but it gives a platform for the future. The key thing is a product portfolio review. We have to look at the number of titles and frequency of publishing.”
Auckland was appointed as the boss of DMGT’s regional newspaper division ten days ago, replacing Michael Pelosi who is retiring.
His appointment comes just weeks after DMGT chief executive Martin Morgan admitted that the company was open to ‘any worthwhile approaches’for Northcliffe Media.
Morgan’s comments also followed earlier reports that Trinity Mirror considered selling a number of its shares to DMGT earlier this year in return for taking control of its regional newspapers.
Auckland told the Guardian that he was not brought in to take the business apart, but he did admit that he would be taking a ‘less is more’approach to local organisational structures.
“There has been no conversation about ripping costs out to bump up the figures,’he said.
‘I’ve not got a brief to carve up and sell on. I think regionals still have a future to play, it is a great brief to have and it’s long-term growth I’m after, not a short-term fix.”