ESPN Cuts 300 Employees

Network Investing in New Tech, Distribution Strategies

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ESPN President John Skipper.
ESPN President John Skipper. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN said it's eliminating jobs in response to the changing climate for pay TV.

John Skipper, head of Disney's sports network, announced the move Wednesday in a message to employees. Just under 300 people will be fired, ESPN said. That's about 3.8% of the total workforce at the Bristol, Connecticut-based cable programmer.

"Beginning today, we will be enacting a number of organizational changes at ESPN to better support our future goals -- a process that will include the elimination of a number of positions, impacting friends and colleagues across the organization," Mr. Skipper said in the memo.

Mr. Skipper, in his memo, said ESPN needed to integrate new technologies into its business, develop tools that serve advertisers better and prepare to work with new distribution partners.

Conventional cable-TV programmers like ESPN have had to contend with rising content costs and a drop in subscribers, driven partly by the popularity of online video services. Disney triggered a plunge in media stocks in August when it lowered its outlook for profit growth in cable TV, citing viewer losses as one factor.

-- Bloomberg News

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