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70 Layoffs Hit Showtime

Layoffs began hitting premium programmer Showtime Networks Inc. Monday.

Sources said as much as 10 percent of SNI's work force, or some 70 employees,
would receive pink slips.

The cuts will come across all company disciplines, according to

Multichannel News reported in its May 5 edition that industry
consolidation and the sluggish economy were about to take their toll at

Rival premium network Home Box Office felt the blade last week, as nearly 20
affiliate-sales employees were laid off.

Showtime executives would not immediately comment about what departments
might be impacted or specific executives who might lose their jobs.

In a prepared statement, the company said, "As you know, SNI has had
tremendous subscriber growth and generated significant earnings over the past
five years. After conducting a strategic review of our business, we have
concluded that there are efficiencies to be gained and opportunities to
streamline our organization."

The statement continued, "While it is a very difficult decision, it allows us
to focus our resources and organize the company for continued

Sources said the cuts are across the board.

Industry consolidation, the use of new and more efficient technology and the network's move toward more original series and less original films led to the cuts, which effected such areas as creative services, finance, programming, marketing and affiliate relations, according to sources.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.