Game Game

ESPN cutting staff to adapt to TV realities


NEW YORK, October 22- US sports broadcaster ESPN announced an unspecified number of job cuts Wednesday, saying a reorganization is needed to adapt to a changing media landscape.

Some reports said 300 to 350 people could be affected by the cuts at ESPN, which operates popular sports channels and online services.

ESPN is facing challenges as Americans shift away from cable television to online video which may be less lucrative.

A memo to staff from ESPN president John Skipper said the company is making changes as part of “a broad strategy to ensure we’re in position to make the most of new opportunities to build the future of ESPN.”

It will mean “constant and relentless innovation, including integrating emerging technology into all aspects of our business,” he said.

“Beginning today, we will be enacting a number of organizational changes at ESPN to better support our future goals — a process that will include the elimination of a number of positions, impacting  friends and colleagues across the organization,” Skipper said.

“The people who will be leaving us have been part of ESPN’s success, and they have our respect and appreciation for their contributions.  We will be as supportive as we can during this transition,” offering severance and other services.

“I realize this process will be difficult — for everyone — but we believe the steps we are taking will ultimately create important competitive advantages for our business over the long term.”

ESPN, which is a unit of Walt Disney’s ABC with a minority stake held by Hearst Corp., faces competition from rival networks such as Fox, part of the Murdoch family’s conglomerate, but is impacted by declines in cable TV subscriptions which provide much of its revenues.

The company did not immediately respond to an AFP query for details of the layoffs.