Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ESPN to cut 300-400 jobs-Reuters

5/21/13, "Disney-owned ESPN cutting hundreds of jobs: source," Reuters, Liana B. Baker

"ESPN, the sports channel that is Walt Disney Co's most profitable unit, is cutting 300 to 400 jobs across the company and closing a small Denver office, a person with knowledge of the cuts said.

The job cuts, comprising 4 to 6 percent of ESPN's staff of 7,000, include open positions that will not be filled, said the source, who asked not to be named because the information is not public.

But ESPN will continue hiring for other open positions, the person said. The channel has recently won rights to exclusive coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis tournament, and is starting a new channel focused on U.S. Southeastern Conference college football.

The Denver office only has "a handful" of employees, the person noted.

The cuts are part of an ESPN internal review, and are not related to similar measures at Disney, said a source familiar with Disney's thinking, who declined to be named because the information is not public.

ESPN informed its staff about the layoffs on its internal website, and encouraged employees to contact their supervisor with any questions. ESPN's layoffs were first reported on Tuesday by Gawker Media's sports blog, Deadspin....

In Disney's most recent fiscal half year, ended March 30, its cable operation - which ESPN dominates - accounted for 54.7 percent of overall operating income. Theme parks, its second largest money earner, accounted for just under 20 percent of operating income....

ESPN receives $5.15 per subscriber per month and is seen in well over 101 million homes, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Disney's cable unit earnings rose by 8 percent, to $2.7 billion, in the latest fiscal 6-month period, the company said."...

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