Old Media, New Media
By Anne Becker -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/26/2007
Last year, almost 18,000 media employees lost their jobs—the biggest group of layoffs since the dotcom bubble burst in 2001.
Some of the world's biggest “old-media” companies—including MTV Networks (MTVN), NBC Universal, Disney and Discovery Communications—are axing staffers in handfuls and hundreds. In one of the biggest reductions, Time Warner's AOL began cutting 5,000 employees in December, about 26% of its workforce.
U.S. media companies announced they were slashing a total of 17,809 jobs in 2006, 88% more than in the year before, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a New York-based global outplacement firm that tracks layoffs.
The cuts reflect a grim reality for these media giants: Staying ahead often means cutting heads. As viewers shift their media-consumption habits, TV operations are forced to take a hard look at how they have been run and staffed for years. And in many cases, they've realized, they just don't need the same people they used to.