Viacom to Slash 850 Jobs

mtv-paramount.JPGRumors about this have been floating around for a while now and looks like they are coming to pass. The AP is reporting that Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures, has announced it will slash 850 jobs or 7% of its workforce. In addition to the job cuts there will be a suspension of some raises for senior-level executives. None of this is a surprise when one takes a quick look at the numbers leading up to the layoffs

Last month Viacom reported that its third-quarter profit fell 37 percent as film studio Paramount Pictures’ theatrical revenue fell more than a third and advertising revenue also declined. The company was also hindered by lackluster ratings at MTV.

The full memo to staff (via Gawker) is after the jump. Nikki Finke is saying that 300 of the 850 layoffs may come from MTV. If you have any info let us know through the box or email us directly.

rom: “Offices of Philippe Dauman and Tom Dooley”
Date: December 4, 2008 8:30:19 AM EST
Subject: Important Announcement

Dear Colleagues:

With less than a month until the close of 2008, our entire organization continues to do everything possible to anticipate and adapt to the unprecedented changes affecting all our businesses. We know it hasn’t been easy and we couldn’t be more proud or more appreciative of how you have risen to the challenge.

Even in these tough economic times, Viacom has a strong hand to play. We have a broad stable of outstanding brands, diverse revenue streams and an impressive global footprint, backed up by exceptional financial strength. Added to that we have talented employees, extremely able leaders and a creative ingenuity that runs deep.

Unfortunately, our advantages and best efforts can’t completely protect Viacom from the very serious and broad-based challenges of this economic recession. Viacom’s long-term health will depend on our shared commitment to adapt, to innovate and to make difficult choices. To compete and thrive, we need to create an organization and a cost structure that are in step with the evolving economic environment.

Today, we are announcing a company-wide restructuring plan that includes staffing reductions in all divisions. This will result in a reduction of our worldwide workforce of approximately 7 percent, or about 850 positions. We are also suspending salary increases for the Company’s senior level management in 2009. In addition, after a comprehensive review of our operations, we will write down certain programming and other assets. These three actions will bring us significant cost savings and other efficiencies.

Top managers at every part of the company worked thoughtfully, carefully and compassionately to create a leaner, more focused organization. It was not an easy task, but it was an essential step that will keep Viacom at the competitive forefront today and tomorrow. Department heads and supervisors will provide you with more information about the changes that will be taking place in your division.

Saying goodbye to friends and colleagues is always difficult, particularly when we have shared so much. Those of you who will be leaving should be proud of your contributions, which we will always respect and appreciate. We thank you and we wish you the best.

The true measure of an organization is how it deals with change and overcomes challenges. We know that you are up to the task and that together we will push through the difficulties ahead and go on to even greater achievements.

We truly appreciate your continued commitment and hard work and we thank you for everything you do each day.


Philippe and Tom