ESPN is Laying Off Another 150 Employees

 

ESPN's logo.

ESPN has long been an industry leader in cable TV sports programming, but it’s fallen on tough times lately. The network announced Wednesday that it was laying off 150 people, marking the second major series of cuts it’s had to make this calendar year.

“Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology, and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and redirect resources.”

This round of job cutbacks comes shortly after the network’s April announcement that it was laying off 150 people. That move included ousting a number of prominent on-air personalities, including former pro football players Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell. This round of layoffs is directed more toward behind-the-scenes employees at ESPN. The company also let about 300 employees go back in October 2015.

These layoffs come amid a series of major business challenges for ESPN. First and foremost, the network has had to deal with declining revenue from subscribers as the number of people paying monthly fees for cable TV packages continues to decrease. This trend has led to tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

While job losses have been ongoing for over two years now, ESPN continues to look for ways to keep the ship afloat. For instance, the network is planning to open a new studio in New York in 2018, where it will host both a morning show and an afternoon opinion show as a way of bringing in new streams of revenue. Additionally, the network is looking to capitalize on the popularity of social media with a new Snapchat version of “SportsCenter.” This will offer sports fans a way to watch game highlights on their smartphones without having to watch traditional cable TV.

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Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable

Comcast

IMG: via Comcast

Comcast has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion dollar deal combining two of the largest cable and Internet providers in the country. In the all-stock deal Comcast will pay $158.82 per share in the friendly merger.

The move comes as a surprise as last month cable operator Charter Communications offered $132.50 a share for Time Warner Cable, but the bid was rejected. In January, Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Robert Marcus said that a merger with Charter wouldn’t have been a good fit and that he preferred to work with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

CNN reports that the two companies expect to receive government approval by the end of the year, but regulators will likely take a closer look at the potential impact on consumers. Time Warner Cable is the country’s second biggest supplier of television service. In markets such as New York City and Los Angeles, there are some 12 million subscribers. Comcast has 53.1 million customers with combined TV, broadband, and phone services combined across the country.

With a potential for improved cable and Internet services for consumers, public interest group Free Press has raised concerns over the deal.

“In an already uncompetitive market with high prices that keep going up and up, a merger of the two biggest cable companies should be unthinkable,” the group’s president, Craig Aaron, said in an email. “This deal would be a disaster for consumers and must be stopped.”

Comcast is also the parent company of NBC Universal, which owns the NBC broadcast network, Universal Studios, and several cable channels. The $17 billion acquisition of NBC Universal was completed in 2013.

Comedy Central to ‘Roast’ James Franco…But is it Enough to Save Viacom?

James Franco

IMG: s_bukley / Shutterstock

Viacom Media Networks is a ad-supported cable network company based in New York City that brings you a lot of your favorite channels. Shows on MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, and more come from them.

“Each of the Viacom Media Networks brands develop original content based on the deep insights and connections they cultivate with the audience,” they state on their website.

They (along with Comedy Central) have made headlines for their “roasting” of celebrities. On labor day, Seth Rogen and more funny people will take part in the roast of James Franco. Some might say though, that roasting is an old form of comedy and isn’t “new” enough.

The people who say this are credit rating agencies. Moody’s, whose CEO is Ray McDaniel stated that, “In our view, the company’s recent underperformance has been driven by insufficient investments in programming and innovation,” Moody’s said. “By relying on the success of popular but old shows, its television ratings have suffered across its various networks, particularly at Nickelodeon, and led to a steep decline in advertising revenue which drives about 35% of its total revenue.”

While Viacom may be doing well, they are not coming up with enough new ideas that are different from what we already see. Moody’s suggests that Viacom change up the management team if they expect to be upgraded in the near future.

Click below to watch James Franco’s Roast commercial.

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