OnTheMarket has confirmed it is “considering” making redundancies - the second of the large portals to be in this position.
Rumours have been swirling around the industry for some weeks about jobs going at OTM which is still officially hunting for a permanent chief executive following the sacking of Ian Springett some months ago.
Some local sales representatives of OTM were reportedly told on Thursday that their jobs were at risk; speculation about other jobs losses have been discussed in the industry since early in the lockdown period.
Acting chief executive Clive Beattie issued a statement this morning saying that as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak: “Uncertainty remains and business practices have changed for the foreseeable future. Regrettably, we are therefore considering a small number of redundancies to ensure that we are best placed to support our agents for the long-term.”
Beattie also says: “The emergence of COVID-19 has affected all of us and through these challenging times my colleagues have shown exceptional resilience. We responded quickly through a number of considered measures including the selective use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the curtailment of discretionary marketing spend.”
Last month Zoopla said it was considering the closure of some of its offices and said at the time that “a number of roles across our organisation could potentially be made redundant after a period of consultation with staff.”
Just 10 days ago Zeus Capital, a business consultancy advising OnTheMarket, warned investors that OTM would see revenues shrink substantially in the coming months but claimed at that time that the portal was still on track to break even during 2020.
It calculated that the extension of its discount scheme to agent members would cost up to £1m in lost revenue - and Zeus suggested this would mean the portal would have to cut up to £900,000 off projected marketing spend to balance the books.
However, another statement from OTM over the weekend says it is today embarking on a new round of high-profile TV advertising, with its well known most recent advertising “aired thousands of times over the next few weeks” according to the company.
The portal says it has secured high profile, high viewing slots across ITV, Channel 4, Sky and other digital channels, with advertisement spots in Joanna Lumley’s Fabulous World, Downton Abbey, Doc Martin, Escape to the Chateau DIY and Grand Designs.
On Sky, it has a slot during the showing of the controversial film Joker.