ESPN to Lay Off 150 More People And BuzzFeed to Lay Off 100 Employees In Its U.S. and U.K. Offices

Due to 'changing consumption habits' and a 'diversifying revenue model'

ESPN President John Skipper called the move a "difficult decision." Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images
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As of today, ESPN will let go of 150 employees following a round of layoffs earlier this year, which eliminated 100 jobs.

In spring, ESPN let go mostly on-air talent from positions across the network, but this round of layoffs is mainly focused on production, technology and other digital positions. Part of the memo from ESPN president John Skipper reads:

A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Our content strategy—primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand—still needs to go further, faster…and as always, must be efficient and nimble. Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands.  We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week.  A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs. Thank you as always for your continuing dedication to our work.

According to Deadspin, the company will provide “severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services” to employees affected today. This news comes ahead of the expected launch of a live-streaming sports app being developed by Disney in 2018, noting a continued focus on a digital and mobile consumer.

Also announced today, as the Wall Street Journal first reported, BuzzFeed will be laying off 100 employees mostly located in its U.S. and U.K. offices. According to a staff memo from CEO and founder Jonah Peretti, members of the business team—including sales, creative, client services, marketing and more—will be let go as that division becomes restructured. This is to keep up with its “diversifying revenue model.” As part of that reorganization, president Greg Coleman will transition into a new role at the company, though the company did not note what that role would be.

In the UK, members of the editorial and administrative teams, including others, will be let go in order to “focus on content for global audiences and our core U.K. news beats.”

A year ago, the editorial staff of BuzzFeed’s U.K. team requested the opportunity to unionize. Peretti disagreed with the movement at that time. Earlier this month, Wall Street Journal also reported that BuzzFeed would miss its expected revenue targets for 2017 by 15 to 20 percent.

@samimain Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.