CNN will see layoffs and other cuts in the coming weeks as the global news division reacts to the deteriorating economic climate and Warner Bros. Discovery continues its efforts to bring the WarnerMedia and Discovery businesses closer together.
CNN CEO Chris Licht explained the rationale in a memo to staff on Wednesday, adding that “our goal is to have most of these decisions made by the end of the year so that we can start 2023 in us feeling settled and prepared for the future”.
CNN employees have been preparing for the changes since Licht began a review of the news division’s business lines and its programming.
On the programming front, CNN is set to launch a new morning show next month and has canceled the Sunday morning show Reliable sources. Licht is expected to make further changes to CNN’s primetime and weekend lineups in the coming months.
Licht did not disclose where the cuts will come from, although he said “we will be strategic in this process and minimize the impact on our core information gathering operation and on Digital, which have already executed smart changes.
One of Licht’s first actions after joining CNN was overseeing the shutdown of the CNN+ streaming service, just weeks after its launch. It also combined linear and numerical information collection options to avoid duplication.
In his memo, Licht cited the deteriorating macroeconomic environment as one of the reasons for the cuts.
“There is widespread concern about the global economic outlook and we need to factor this risk into our long-term planning,” Licht wrote. “All of this will mean a significant change for this organization. This, by definition, is destabilizing. These changes will not be easy as they will affect people, budgets and projects.
However, Warner Bros. Discovery has made cuts to its organization in recent months, the Warner Bros. TV having been affected earlier in October. Some cuts were expected due to the merger of the two media companies, but it is clear that the economic environment is forcing further budget cuts.
This week, WBD disclosed to investors that it expects to take on restructuring costs of up to $4.3 billion related to the merger, including up to $1.1 billion related to layoffs and other changes. of staff.
Licht’s full memo is below.
To my CNN colleagues,
I’ve spent the past six months meeting with so many of you and diving deep into every corner of the business to understand how you do the amazing work CNN produces every day, how we’re structured, and set our top priorities. As many of you know, I have also spent much of this time doing formal business reviews with senior executives to identify areas where we should make changes, investments and reductions to correspond to our future priorities.
We have already begun working for the future of CNN, implementing a strategy that prioritizes our journalism and grows our digital stronghold. We have restructured our digital team and are investing heavily in the product. We’ve combined our linear and digital newsgathering operations to ensure we can bring all of our reporting power to any platform we’re on. We’re starting to reinvent our morning and primetime lineups, officially launching our new morning show next week. We started to build our long Sunday evening program. We have also begun to reduce or eliminate areas that are not mission critical. All of these moves are designed to keep CNN essential across all platforms to ensure that where and how people get their news, they must have CNN.
There is still a lot to do. I am writing to you today to tell you that over the next few weeks this work will accelerate. There is widespread concern about the global economic outlook and we must take this risk into account in our long-term planning. All of this will mean a noticeable change in this organization. This, by definition, is destabilizing. These changes will not be easy as they will affect people, budgets and projects.
We will be strategic in this process and minimize the impact on our core information gathering operation and Digital, which have already executed smart changes. Let’s be clear: I will not let these changes affect our position as the world’s leading source of information, and we will continue to invest in areas of growth. When we conclude this process, CNN will still be the largest and most respected newsgathering organization in the world. We will continue to cover any story, anywhere, anytime, with more resources than anyone else. Full stop.
Our goal is to have most of these decisions made by the end of the year so that we can start 2023 feeling confident and prepared for the future. We’ll send out updates as I get them, and I plan to hold town halls in November and December.
When we emerge on the other side, CNN will be a stronger, more nimble organization, ready to take on whatever the global economy throws at us and grow into the future.
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