Beano and Commando publisher DC Thomson announces redundancies

The Dundee-based publisher of the BEANO, Commando and The Sunday Post, DC Thomson, has warned of title closures and redundancies, in a bid to plug a £10 million gap amid moves to “reshape” its portfolio.

Details of the cuts are expected to be announced later this morning.

Various Scottish news outlets, including BBC Scotland, have reported employees were told of the upcoming title closures and job cuts at an all-staff meeting on Wednesday, but it must be stressed that no specific titles have yet been identified for closure at this time.

Rebecca Miskin, who was promoted to the role of chief executive of DC Thomson’s media business in 2021, the company then announcing ambitious growth plans, said “significant changes” were to be announced.

“We will be announcing the closure of some well-loved titles, as well as the cessation of some commercial activities,” she said this week.

“This will mean losing some valued colleagues, something we deeply regret. These moves are vital to set us up to thrive in the future and to respond to the difficult economic environment we are in.

“Until discussions have taken place with colleagues, we aren’t able to comment on the number of people or the titles which will be impacted.”

STV Scotland yesterday that the cuts would be widespread, affecting not just workers in Dundee but also in Aberdeen, Glasgow and three sites in England, and that details on how many jobs will go and which titles will shut are expected to be announced today, Thursday 9th February.

DC Thomson: A Profile

Photo: DC Thomson

DC Thomson employs some 1600 staff and has offices across Scotland, including in Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow, alongside operations in Colchester and London. In addition to numerous brands that include Find My Past and the radio stations Original 106 and Pure Scotland, it owns a number of newspapers, comics and magazines. These include the 110% Gaming, Animals and You, BEANO, The Courier, a wide range of puzzle magazines, the long-running story and features magazine The People’s Friend, teen magazine SHOUT, and The Sunday Post, Britain’s best-known newspapers.

In the financial year ending 31st March 2022, its total revenues rose to £174.1 million from £160.2m in 2020 – 21. The company made pre-tax profits of £7.3m in the latest period, but rising costs were beginning to bite.

DC Thomson said the increase in revenues was due to sales recovering from Covid-19 disruption and new digital sales streams, but the company was also being impacted by rising inflation.

“The return of events, growth in subscriptions and increased digital advertising sales all contributed to a strong year for the media business,” the firm said in January.

“Despite strong sales, margins were down 1% year-on-year as the impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and rising inflation saw an £8m increase in the cost of raw materials, including paper.”

Revenue classed as circulation was down slightly, from £80m in 2021 to £78.6m. However, the company highlighted the growth in digital subscriptions, which the Press Gazette reported now exceed 25,000 for its newspaper brands, after a revamp of news operations. The company has set a target of reaching 75,000 digital subscriptions by 2025. (The same article notes DC Thomson’s determination to keep its newspapers running, despite significant challenges).

Rebecca Miskin CEO of DC Thomson’s media portfolio, warned staff of “significant changes” ahead on Wednesday. Photo: DC Thomson

Rebecca Mishkin joined DC Thomson as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer in summer 2020 and has been instrumental in developing the plan to consolidate DC Thomson’s media entities and create a scalable media company powered by “data, technology and talent”.

She has been overseeing the company’s entire media operation, bringing together brands including Beano Studios, The Stylist Group and Puzzler for the first time, as well as communities in energy, local and national news, teaching, crafts, sport and radio.

DC Thomson noted when she was appointed that Rebecca has a strong track record of leading digital transformation at major media companies, having previously been digital strategy director at Hearst, general manager at NBC Universal and commercial director at Time Inc.

Speaking in December 2021, Rebecca commented: “DC Thomson was founded on creativity and entrepreneurialism. As the company transforms to prepare itself for the future, it is my mission to nurture that spirit.

“Throughout DC Thomson’s history, its ability to continually recognise the wants and needs of audiences has created successful brands that have grown and evolved. Now more than ever, readers, listeners and viewers want to feel a togetherness that comes from shared experiences.

“To survive and grow, we have to do more than just attract customers, we need to create loyal and long-lasting communities and we will achieve that by investing in technology, data and talent.”

Difficult times for all publishers

Following the pandemic, which impacted sales as outlets were forced to close, all media companies have recently been impacted by significant cost rises, particularly paper and energy costs, over the past year. The cost of living crisis has also resulted in lower sales for some titles as consumers have begun to cut spending to pay bills. Technology companies such as Amazon were the first to make difficult choices in response to the crisis.

Publishers have been contending with lower print sales of comics, magazines and newspapers for a number of years as consumer buying habits changed, battling competition from digital competition.

All publishers are now facing the challenge of retaining readership, as they raise cover prices to continue to keep their titles profitable. Like other industries, they are painfully aware that striking the right balance between higher prices and maintaining content standards is a delicate balancing act, and if this can’t be achieved, title closures sadly become inevitable.

Responding to changing audiences, DC Thomson has recently begun to deliver digital collections of classic material from its significant archive holdings of comics, including its past girls titles such as Spellbound, and boys titles such as Starblazer.

DC Thomson is online at

The Courier, 11th January 2023: DC Thomson: Revenues increase for Dundee media group

The Press Gazette, 6th October 2022: Scottish regional dailies celebrate return to growth with online subs breakthrough

110% Gaming is online at

The BEANO is online at

Commando Comics is online at | DC Thomson – Subscriptions | Commando Comics on AmazonUK

Look out for new Heritage Comics and Commando Presents digital releases on the final Wednesday of every month – check out the Commando Presents Series Page on AmazonUK

Categories: British Comics, Comics, downthetubes News

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  1. BEANO publisher DC Thomson closes Animals and You, Animal Planet and SHOUT, confirms 300 redundancies –

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