Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN sports network, confronting rising programming costs and a loss of viewers, plans to eliminate as many as 350 positions, about 4.3 percent of its workforce, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The cuts will be announced to employees as early as Wednesday, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the matter because it isn’t public.
The action follows Disney’s announcement in August that earnings at its cable networks won’t meet company forecasts as a result of subscriber losses and currency translation. That triggered a selloff in the shares of many media companies. Disney had the second-largest long-term commitment to sports programming at $44.2 billion behind only 21st Century Fox Inc., according to Bloomberg Intelligence. That was before signing a long-term agreement with the NBA.
“ESPN has historically embraced evolving technology to smartly navigate our business,” the company said in a statement last month when plans for job cuts were reported by thebiglead.com. “Any organizational changes will be announced directly to our employees if and when appropriate.”
The network, which commands the highest price per customer among basic cable channels, has lost more than 4 million subscribers in the past four years, according to researcher SNL Kagan.
Credit to Bloomberg who broke the story and originally published this article