That’s the news CNN employees sent to their inboxes at 1 p.m. Wednesday, when network chief Chris Licht told them big changes are imminent. In other words, face layoffs by the end of the year.
Licht, who has been studying CNN’s business for six months, he said in a statement that he identified the areas where changes will be made. In addition, he stated that there is “widespread concern about the global economic outlook” and said that “we must take this risk into account in our long-term planning”.
“All of this together will bring tangible change to this organization,” Licht said in a statement. “That, by definition, is worrying. These changes will not be easy, because they will affect people, budgets and projects.”
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Licht’s announcement came hours after CNBC’s Alex Sherman published a deep dive into CNN’s future. Sherman’s story, which Licht covered on the record, said job cuts will affect the news organization.
“The review is part of a larger effort led by Licht [Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav]has told division heads across the company to rethink their units and find ways to cut costs,” Sherman reported, adding that “more than 1,000 people will be laid off this year,” according to WBD, CNN’s parent company. In addition to the financial hurdles facing every company, Zaslav told Wall Street has promised to save 3,000 billion dollars in the joint organization.
CNN is, of course, not the only media company aiming to tighten its belt and buckle amid the uncertainty and downturn in the advertising market. As one former TV executive told CNN, “the ad market is going to fall into a recession” and “declining ratings don’t help.”
For now, employees will have to wait a little longer to find out who will be leaving the network. Licht said in his statement that he aims to implement the changes by the end of the year to get 2023 off to a strong start. He insisted that when CNN exits the process, it will “still be the largest and most respected news gathering organization in the world.”
“When we come out the other side, CNN will be a stronger and more agile organization,” Licht said, “ready to face whatever the global economy throws at us and grow into the future.”