Just In: CNN Announces Layoffs Amid Global difficulty
Network CEO Chris Licht wrote to staff on Wednesday to inform employees the process of letting an unspecified number of staffers go had begun and that more information on who would be affected would be forthcoming.
Licht, who took over as head of the network this summer, initially said he had not planned to administer layoffs during his first year leading the massive global media company.
Then in October, Licht told employees to expect a number of staff changes and cost cutting measures, including layoffs, before the end of the year.
“This is an organization that has had gut punch after gut punch after gut punch,” Licht said during a town hall at the time. “And most of the organizations out there wouldn’t have survived.”
The belt tightening at CNN comes as most all major media companies are bracing for the economic impact of rising inflation, decreasing ad revenue and concerns from investors about the broader economic outlook.
The New York Times reported earlier this year that people familiar with the company’s finances estimated CNN is on track to miss its 2022 profitability target of $1.1 billion by more than $100 million.
The cuts at CNN also come amid recent drops in ratings across cable news more generally but at CNN most acutely.
Licht was hired as part of a massive media merger between CNN’s parent company WarnerBros. and Discovery and has said he does not want his staffers “chasing ratings” but instead “chasing stories.”
During an interview with the journalist Kara Swisher earlier this month, Licht said he takes ownership for any job cuts and its effect on the network.
“Look, these are my cuts,” he said. “I own this. This is my strategy and if I thought that there was a cut that somehow I was getting pushed to do something that I thought would be, in the, not in the interest of this company, I would push back hard, and I’ve not had to do that.”