The Guardian is outsourcing its sales operation for its independent agencies but will continue to manage the day-to-day running of the accounts for the larger agency networks.
Responsibilities have been handed to media sales house Canopy Media Management, which has worked with the publisher since 2008. Moving forward, the business will take on the Guardian's clients at the several independent agencies it sells to, though its own internal teams will still be on hand to assist with any queries.
The Guardian’s sales teams will also continue to oversee the larger accounts with the big agency networks and there are no plans to eventually hand over those relationships to a third party too.
A spokeswoman for the Guardian said: "As part of our ongoing business transition we have extended our working partnership with Canopy to include the management of several independent agencies for display and classified ads. We are confident this will deliver continued great service for our clients, as well as helping us to deliver our business objectives. We have a great track record working with Canopy and are excited by this new way of working."
As mentioned, the move forms part of the publisher’s efforts to create a leaner, profitable business, although it is not being treated as another control exercise, The Drum understands. Rather it is viewed as a logical step given how fruitful the relationship with Canopy has been for the last 8 years and that the Guardian’s commercial team was slashed earlier this year in a wave of cost cuts. As such no redundancies have happened as a direct result of the switch to Canopy, with any departures happening after the consultation period earlier this year when some of the team accepted voluntary redundancy.
The Guardian is keen on new ways of working to help break even at an operating level by 2018/19, and will attempt to unearth new revenue streams as well as come up with a new membership strategy, all while reducing 20 per cent from its overall costs.