(CTN NEWS) – The worldwide news network CNN told staff on Wednesday that layoffs had started, the company’s largest reduction in staff in years.
Hundreds of people are expected to be affected by the decision.
In a statement to the whole crew, Chris Licht, the network’s new CEO, called the layoffs a “gut punch” to the company and said it was “extremely difficult to say farewell to any one employee of the CNN crew, much less many.”
Since Licht notified them last month that “unsettling” changes are coming, the company’s employees have been tensely preparing for the playoffs.
— Zee News English (@ZeeNewsEnglish) December 1, 2022
According to Licht, the business will let go of a “small number of people” on Wednesday, most of whom were paid contributors.
On Thursday, he stated, “the company will notify impacted employees.” After the cuts, Licht promised to “follow up with more details.”
Licht’s memo was frank, saying, “It will be a terrible period for everyone.”
CNN did not disclose the actual number of employees who would be affected by the layoffs on Wednesday.
Layoffs occur as the advertising industry is pounded by severe economic headwinds wreaking havoc on media companies.
There is “widespread concern over the global economic picture,” according to Licht, who hinted at impending significant cuts in October, and CNN “must integrate that risk into [its] long-term strategy.”
As they try to prepare themselves as well as possible for the turbulent economic environment, other media companies have also reduced expenses.
AMC Networks announced Tuesday that it would lay off 20% of its workforce, and Disney stated last week that the firm needed to restructure.
The cuts that devastated the business during the pandemic spared CNN, which now reports millions of dollars in revenues.
Before this year, the company last made significant job cuts in 2018, when less than 50 employees were laid off as it reorganized its digital division.
The organization also had to make changes when CNN’s former parent company WarnerMedia combined with Discovery earlier this year, creating a media behemoth that is heavily indebted and requires cost-cutting across the board.
When the firm announced in April that it was shuttering the streaming service CNN+ one month after it started, the merger had just been finalized.
David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, the business created when WarnerMedia and Discovery merged, has assured investors that the new company will save more than $3 billion.
After Licht assumed leadership of CNN, he reviewed the company for several months.
He identified modifications that needed to be made due to that review, Licht said in October. Because CNN has just made minor business cuts, some of those changes have already been implemented.
Employees affected by this week’s layoffs will be informed “via an in-person meeting or through Zoom, depending on your location,” Licht wrote in his memo to the whole team on Wednesday.
Here is the memo CNN boss Chris Licht just sent the company, outlining the impact the layoffs have had. pic.twitter.com/veYmY4s6s3
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 1, 2022
Licht added, “you would learn detailed details about your notice period, applicable severance, and your expected termination day in those discussions.”
“Everyone eligible for a bonus in 2022 will still receive their bonus, which is determined by the company‘s performance.”
The layoffs will “impact both our outgoing colleagues and those who stay,” Licht acknowledged, but he pledged to give staffers “tools geared to help” them.
“This week, let’s look out for one another,” Licht stated.
RELATED CTN NEWS: