The Sunday Times editor, John Witherow, told his staff at a meeting last Thursday that print-based business is unlikely to be viable in the future. Witherow said the future of news is "digital" and announced the launch of a Sunday Times iPhone app soon, according to Guardian.
This move comes as the editor of the Times, James Harding, announced last Thursday at a meeting with his staff, that the Times would be slashing its editorial budget by 10% and would also be accepting a number of voluntary redundancies that could leave up to 50 journalists without a job. At the time, Harding also said that the Sunday Times would be cutting its budget by 10% and possibly eliminate up to 30 jobs.
At a meeting with his editorial staff, Witherow confirmed the budget cut and cited an advertising downturn as the cause of the newspaper's woes.
Although printed news was unlikely to be viable in the near future, Witherow said that the "future was digital" and announced the launch of a Sunday Times iPhone app in the future to help boost revenue. No details on when this iPhone app would be expected to launch were given.
Witherow's announcement means bad news for the Scottish staff of the Sunday Times: around 20 jobs in the paper's Scottish office may be slashed as well. This would be a great blow to the Scottish operation that would see three quarters of the editorial staff laid off. The grand total of jobs shed at the Sunday Times could reach around 25. Unlike the Times, the Sunday Times would not be offering voluntary redundancies.
These job and budget cuts come just weeks before the Sunday Times prepares to charge for access to its website. Both the Sunday Times and the Times have been suffering substantial losses in the last couple of months to the tune of up to £240,000 per day.
Certainly, a succesful paid-for iPhone app could create a revenue stream for the Sunday Times. Back in January, just a month after it launched a £2.39 iPhone app, Guardian announced income from the app alone could reach £1.97 million a year. However, the Sunday Times could also offset its losses with the paywall revenue, that is if the product does not suffer as a result of substantial editorial budget and staff cuts.