On Wednesday, CNN started a long-awaited round of layoffs as the network’s parent company tried to slash costs in response to investor pressure.
The network’s chairman, Chris Licht, informed staff members in a memo that some personnel, particularly paid contributors, would learn of the layoffs on Wednesday. He wrote that on that day, more information would be shared, and on Thursday, more people would be told.
The message, which was seen by The New York Times, had the following statement from Mr. Licht: “It is exceedingly painful to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many.” “I recently compared this process to getting punched in the gut, since I know that’s how it feels for all of us,” the author said.
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In terms of overall viewing this year
CNN has lagged behind its main rivals, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen data. In the highly sought-after advertiser demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds, it has beaten MSNBC in some instances, but the overall declining ratings have hurt CNN’s profitability this year.
According to two sources with knowledge of the matter, the cuts will have an impact on a wide range of personnel. Executives have talked about eliminating $100 million in expenses, but Mr. Licht has stated he will work to keep employment in news gatherings. The most well-known anchors on the network shouldn’t be impacted.
According to the sources, Mr. Licht has made an effort to avoid eliminating photojournalists and video editors and plans to keep spending on morning and prime-time programming. According to them, the company also intends to expand its digital business team.
In a memo to staff members last month, Mr. Licht gave the cuts advance notice. He said that the company’s leaders would carefully look at all of its spendings and that the layoffs would cause “noticeable change.”
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in October caught much staff off guard. Months earlier, Mr. Licht told staff that he didn’t think CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, would cut more jobs after the CNN+ streaming service shut down, which led to a large number of layoffs.
Nobody has ever told me, “You’re going to have to go cut this,” according to a recording of Mr. Licht’s comments made in May that The Times was able to get. In a meeting with staff last month, he said that the advice he provided on cost-cutting was accurate at the time.
Since taking over in May, Mr. Licht has been reviewing CNN’s operations, and he has asked network executives to explore a number of options, some of which involve cost-cutting. The corporation has recently made some cuts, including to The Vault, a project for digital treasures, and its music section.
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However, as the economy deteriorated, the size of the cuts widened. Last year, Warner Bros. and Discovery announced that the megamerger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, which produced the media behemoth, would save $3 billion.
In October, the company said that it would spend more than $1 billion on costs related to restructuring, such as severance. A few weeks later, CNN made the announcement that it would no longer be investing in original TV shows and movies and would instead look into establishing a long-form content studio.
Layoffs in Tech to continue in 2023