Turner Plans to Lay Off 10% of Global Employees

Turner Broadcast announced that it will lay off 10% of its global employees as part of its plan to cut costs and become more competitive.

About 1,475 jobs will be eliminated.

The layoffs were expected to be part of the restructuring being spearheaded by Turner CEO John Martin. Martin announced his plan to cut costs at Turner so that the company could invest more on programming and technology in a June 2 memo to the staff.

The pressure on Time Warner to accelerate earnings growth increased when it rejected a takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. In addition to the changes at Turner, layoffs were also announced at Warner Bros.

Ratings are off at most of Turner's cable networks and the ad market has cooled.

Time Warner has a meeting with investors scheduled for Oct. 15.

Turner offered some long-time staffers voluntary buyouts in August as part of its plan to cut payroll costs. The buyouts covered staffers who were age 55 and up with 10 years of service to the company. On-air talent and employees covered by a written employment agreement were excluded from the buyout. Turner did not say how many of its staffers took the buyout.

In Martin's June 2 memo, describing the reorganization, dubbed Turner 2020, he said that "as part of this process, we will assess every part of the company to ensure it is optimized against our strategic priorities, reducing spending and maximizing growth and profitability. To commit to staying top of market, we need to prioritize programming, monetization and innovation investment while reducing spending in less-impactful areas," Martin said in the memo.

"We've been shifting resources already and I would ask that you think carefully about how and where to get the greatest return on the assets you control. This may mean staff changes. In fact, I'll be surprised if it doesn't. I want to see Turner vibrant and market-leading in programming, branding, innovation and profitability in 2020 (the 50th-anniversary year of our company's founding). We need to work hard now to ensure that we reach that goal," Martin said.

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.