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ESPN laying off another 150 employees

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    ESPN broadcasts from Nissan Stadium before a NFL football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 16 in Nashville. The network announced this week it is laying off another 150 employees after cutting about 100 jobs seven months ago.

ESPN announced today that it was laying off 150 more people, seven months after the sports broadcasting juggernaut shed about 100 employees. Unlike that last round of cuts, this one was not expected to include prominent on-air personalities.

“Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated,” the network’s president, John Skipper, said in a statement. “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.”

In April, ESPN laid off several well known on-air personalities such as former NFL players Trent Dilfer and Danny Kanell. In October 2015, ESPN laid off about 300 people, most of whom were not on camera.

It has been a trying year for ESPN. The number of people who subscribe to cable packages that contain its networks continues to decline, costing tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. ESPN has also frequently found itself in the middle of cultural and political wars this year, including the White House calling for the firing of a prominent “SportsCenter” anchor.

The network has been searching for ways to cut costs as fans increasingly watch video clips on their smartphones rather than traditional highlight shows like “SportsCenter.” ESPN is locked into long-term expensive contracts for sports programming with leagues, so savings must primarily come from a reduced staff.

The network expects to continue to hire in some areas.

Skipper is trying to turn around the company; he had his contract extended earlier this month. In September, Skipper reshuffled the responsibilities of top executives, for the second time this year.

The company recently launched a Snapchat version of “SportsCenter” and in 2018 will open a new New York City studio, which will be the home for a new morning show and afternoon opinion show. ESPN will also begin selling ESPN Plus, a streaming subscription that it hopes will attract those who don’t currently subscribe to cable.

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