Turner Eliminates Positions in Ad Sales Division

Turner eliminated about 30 positions in its advertising sales division on Tuesday, according to industry sources.

With ad revenue largely flat and the business shifting from traditional ad sales to a more data-driven and analytic approach, media companies are looking for people with different skills in order keep up.

Over the past four years, Turner has introduced various new advertising products including Audience Now, which looks to connect advertisers with viewers who consume their products. Turner is one of the founders of OpenAP, which along with Viacom and Fox is trying to make audience buying easier for advertisers by standardizing the definition of targeted audience segments.

Turner has also been beefing up its branded content capabilities.

The layoffs come as Turner, and parent Time Warner, wait to see of the Trump administration’s Justice Department will approve its acquisition by AT&T.

A Turner spokesman declined to comment.

Separately, Michael Strober, executive VP of client strategy and ad innovation and head of Turner Ignite, has left the company. Strober was one of the top Turner execs responsible for data and branded content, and helped Turners efforts in OpenAP.

Layoffs are also expected at Turner’s CNN unit, with 50 jobs to be eliminated, according to published reports.

The CNN cuts are coming in digital businesses including CNN money, with video, tech and social publishing staffers leaving, according to Vanity Fair.

CNN is also scaling back some of its digital initiative including some virtual reality production, a collaboration with Snapchat, a live daily webcast and the MoneyStream business app.

The team that works on the digital extensions for CNN documentary shows are also being reorganized.

Related: Media companies search for positive in earnings numbers

The changes at Turner four years after Turner had layoffs and buyouts as part of CEO John Martin’s Turner 2020 plan to make the company more competitive.

Job cuts seem to be a symptom of slow to negative growth in the TV business, as pay-TV subscribers erode, distribution revenue growth slows and advertising revenue is flat to shrinking.

Last week, Viacom eliminated about 100 employees as part of a cost-saving effort that CEO Bob Bakish estimates will save the company $100 million a year.

Related: Layoffs Hit Ad Sales Unit at NBCUniversal

And NBCUniversal laid of about 30 people in its advertising sales organization, where the growing importance of data and analysis means the company needs more people with new skills and needs to eliminate others to make room for them.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.