MTV, 'BusinessWeek' Follow Time Inc. With Layoffs

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- MTV Networks and BusinessWeek are getting into the spirit of holiday staff cuts, following on the heels of Time Inc.’s 100-plus layoffs earlier this week.

MTV Networks eliminated about 100 posts this week. Within the music group, the layoffs included production staff at MTV and VH1 networks; outside the music group, jobs were cut in the company's strategic-services division, which includes business operations and human resources. Research staffers were not laid off, contrary to earlier reports. The layoffs affected employees in New York and Los Angeles across several levels up to at least the VP level, according to a source familiar with situation.

The layoffs were instituted to free up resources for investment in digital media. Digital media has become a priority at the company -- especially as it becomes the major revenue generator for the half of Viacom that is charged with being a fast-growth stock.

This week MTV unveiled a joint digital-music service with Microsoft and became an investor in Amp'd Mobile, the content-centric mobile service. It isn't clear how many staff will be added to the digital media division, but most of the hiring is expected to occur in first quarter. A month ago MTV Networks named Jason Hirschhorn its global chief digital officer.

MTV Networks declined to comment on the job cuts.

Closing shop in Europe, Asia
And BusinessWeek, which tried to put a rosy face on eliminating its European and Asian editions last week by emphasizing improved Web coverage, has laid off some 60 people from the editorial, ad sales, circulation and production departments as part of the changes. The FishbowlNY media blog, which reported the layoffs yesterday, also said many of the terminations affected senior stateside staffers.

“We’re aligning our resources more strategically and working to enhance BusinessWeek’s prospects for the future,” said Kimberly Quinn, a spokeswoman for the magazine, published by the McGraw Hill Cos. “We’re placing greater emphasis on online news and information and on local-language publications.”

Most of the cuts affect overseas staff, Ms. Quinn said, but she declined to say who had been fired or elaborate further.

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