Thursday 23 April 2020 2:24 pm

Independent furloughs staff and cuts pay as Covid-19 hits ad revenue

The Independent today said it will furlough some of its staff and cut pay for others as the Covid-19 crisis decimates advertising revenues for news organisations.

The digital-only newspaper said all employees earning more than £37,500 would have their pay slashed 20 per cent, while some would be placed on paid leave under the government’s furlough scheme.

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The Independent, which is owned by Evening Standard billionaire Evgeny Lebedev, is the latest newspaper group to announce drastic cost-cutting measures to shore up finances during the pandemic.

While news websites have reported a surge in hits over recent weeks, a sharp decline in advertising has left publishers with a severe revenue shortfall.

On a call this morning Independent chief executive Zach Leonard told staff the downturn was costing the company hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Independent last month posted its third consecutive year of profit after shutting down its print edition in 2016 to become a digital-only platform.

The company has since doubled its revenue and increased its global audience to 95m unique browsers. However, the firm is now heavily reliant on online advertising.

Read more: Guardian, Financial Times and Telegraph furlough staff as coronavirus hits newspaper revenue

A spokesperson for the Independent said the company had been forced to make a “difficult decision”, but said it was for the long-term benefit of the title.

It follows similar moves by the Financial Times, Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, which have all furloughed staff and implemented pay cuts in a bid to mitigate the collapse in advertising.

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