Layoffs At Disney And Time Warner


No surprise, here come more layoffs in the media space.

Ahead of Disney and Time Warner's earnings reports next week, both companies are moving forward with layoffs. The strategy is probably to get the news out ahead of the post-earnings conference calls so the executives can discuss and assuage fears.

On Wednesday Time Warner's AOL announced its cutting 10 percent of its 7,000-person staff as part of a restructuring plan to make AOL more competitive. The company will also freeze merit raises.

This of course comes as AOL faces a downturn in ad revenue and ongoing efforts to transition the company from a subscription service to an ad-supported one. These layoffs are expected to be enacted in the U.S. by the end of March, while global layoffs happen over the next few quarters. Time Warner is interested in selling AOL, and this streamlined employee structure could help make it more appealing.

Thursday Disney's television told its employees that more layoffs are coming. Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television group sent an email informing employees that layoffs are coming to the company's entertainment and news television properties. According to a source at Disney, approximately 200 staffers across the Disney/ABC TV group will be laid off and several hundred open positions will not be filled as responsibilities are consolidated. T

he layoffs will be made by each of the business divisions, and don't expect any announcements on how many will be made by each. (Some estimates put layoffs at ABC news at 40 people).

Here's part of Anne Sweeney's email: "After months of making hard decisions across our businesses to help us adjust to a weakening economy, we’re now faced with the harsh reality of having to eliminate jobs in some areas.

This was not an easy decision, nor one made lightly. The people affected today are our friends and colleagues, and we are doing all we can for them and their families during what we know will be a difficult transition.

Change is never easy, and becomes even harder to embrace during times of turbulence and uncertainty. With that in mind, I've asked each business leader to reach out to their group with more information on this announcement as soon as possible. "

Questions? Comments?