The worldwide news network CNN told personnel on Wednesday that layoffs had started, the company’s largest reduction in staff in years. The choice will likely have an impact on hundreds of people.
In an internal message to the entire crew, Chris Licht, who assumed leadership of the network in May, called the layoffs a “gut punch” to the company and warned workers that it would be very difficult to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. Since Licht told the company’s staff last month that “unsettling” changes are coming, they had been preparing themselves for the layoffs with trepidation.
On Wednesday, the company will fire a “small number of workers,” the majority of whom were paid contributors, according to Licht. He asserted that the company will inform impacted employees on Thursday. After the cuts, Licht promised to follow up with more details. In his memo, Licht was frank in saying, it will be a terrible period for everyone. The actual number of employees who would be affected by the layoffs was not disclosed by CNN on Wednesday. Layoffs occur as the advertising industry is being pounded by severe economic headwinds that are wreaking havoc on media companies.
CNN must integrate that risk into [its] long-term plan because there is widespread anxiety over the global economic picture, according to Licht, who hinted at coming big cuts in October. Other media organizations have likewise cut costs to better position themselves for the uncertain economic climate. AMC Networks (AMCX) stated Tuesday that it would lay off 20% of its workforce, and Disney (DIS) declared last week that the firm needed to restructure. Recently, layoffs have been carried out at social networking businesses like Facebook (FB)-parent Meta, which similarly rely on ad revenue.
The cuts that devastated the business during the pandemic spared CNN, which now reports revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Before this year, the company last made significant job cuts in 2018, when less than 50 employees were laid go as the company reorganized its digital division. WarnerMedia’s acquisition of Discovery earlier this year, which created a media behemoth that is heavily indebted and necessitates cost-cutting across the board, also forced the organization to make changes. When the business stated that CNN+ will be shut down one month after its launch in April, the merger had barely been finalized.
The chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, the business that was created when WarnerMedia and Discovery merged, David Zaslav, has assured investors that he will find more than $3 billion in savings in the new company. After taking over as CNN’s president, Licht spent many months evaluating the business. He was able to identify modifications that needed to be made as a result of that review, Licht said in October. Given that CNN has just made some minor business cuts, some of those changes have already been put into effect. According to Licht’s message to the entire company on Wednesday, anyone affected by this week’s layoffs will be notified by an in-person meeting or through Zoom, depending on your location.
You will learn detailed details about your notice period, any applicable severance, and your expected termination day in those discussions, Licht added. The 2022 bonuses, which are based on company performance, will still be given to everyone who is bonus eligible, I want to make that clear. Licht admitted that the layoffs will affect both our exiting colleagues and those who stay, but he promised to provide staff with resources intended to help. Licht said let’s watch out for one another this week.
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