Bain advised media firm SRF on strategy and cost reforms

29 October 2020 Consultancy.eu

Swiss media company SRF has launched a new transformation programme – SRF 2024 – for which management consultancy Bain & Company provided early stage strategic and advisory support.

The strategy consulting firm was brought on board at the initial stages of the planning process by SRF Director Nathalie Wappler, who has been tasked with modernising the media company while cutting costs at the same time. Fighting dwindling revenues and a strain on savings, SRF 2024 is a plan to reach younger audiences and save millions of francs over the next 2-4 years.

SRF's struggles over recent years are consistent with those across the global media landscape, as television and advertising revenues dry up in favour of digital content streaming and online news consumption. This trend has only been strengthened since the start of this year, and most media companies are taking urgent steps. Meanwhile, changing consumer trends are shifting the way people consume their media.

Bain advised SRF on strategy and cost reforms

Reports reveal that consultants from Bain’s Zurich office played a central role in SRF’s strategic development process, spending weeks collaborating with senior SRF leaders to iron out the details. SRF spokesperson Andrea Wenger told Aargauer Zeitung that Bain & Company offered “methodological and advisory support for the transformation process of the SRF 2024 project.”

Bain’s involvement ended in June. At the start, the SRF 2024 was formally launched to employees and the public, complete with new focus areas and investment plans. Wappler reported that the plans rely on SRF saving more than 50 million francs in the lead up to 2024, which can in turn finance the media company’s digitisation efforts.

Nearly 40 million francs will be saved using a variety of tech investments and new production standards, with a ramped up focus on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media. The firm is also exploring other revenue channels such as podcasts and live sport streaming. According to reports, Wappler in addition wants to improve SRF’s watchdog journalism function, channeling more resources in the investigative division.

Meanwhile, other measures are being taken to save an additional 30 million francs. Included in these plans are several job cuts, to be made in two phases over the next four years. In total, SRF plans to make more than 200 of its current staff redundant in the lead up to 2022. Short of 120 of these will be cut from the payroll altogether, while more than 90 people will be replaced by employees with a different skillset. “We urgently need these new job profiles and skills if we are to succeed in the transformation,” said Wappler.

Around 70 of these positions are forecasted be vacated by January next year, while the remainder will be cut by fall 2021. These plans will be scrutinised through a consultation process, and efforts will be made to club as many of the redundancies as possible with regular employee turnover and voluntary early retirements. Vocational training is also on the cards to help reskill some staff.