On Monday it was announced that Atlanta based Turner Broadcasting System would be making substantial changes to its operations across all divisions in the coming days and weeks. On Tuesday the company began extending offers of buyouts aimed at employees 55 and over with at least 10 years of employment. Turner Broadcasting employs roughly 13,000 people worldwide with about half spread out between several facilities in the downtown and midtown areas of Atlanta. In a memo sent to employees, Turner CEO John Martin detailed plans to trim fat at the company and streamline operations which likely means jobs cuts down the road. Martin mentioned cuts in spending and examining every division in the company to make it leaner to maximize profits.
Turner’s most recognizable brand is CNN, one of many cable and entertainment properties under its umbrella. Those employees are preparing themselves for the worst after discouraging words from Jeff Zucker; President of CNN Worldwide. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Zucker held a conference call where he painted a picture of significant personnel cuts at the network. Zucker said,
We are faced with reality, we are going to have to do what we do with less.
Staff cuts are nothing new to the Atlanta based news network which employs nearly 4,000 employees. In 2011 and 2012 CNN reduced its staff which included personnel at some of its Asia and Middle East bureaus. In 2001 the network laid off more than 60 people at its CNN Newstand unit. CNN Newstand was CNN’s failed cross-over with Time Warner magazines Time, Fortune and Entrainment Weekly.
Turner’s reorganization comes at a time when its news and entertainment networks are lagging in ratings. CNN has spent more than a decade in the shadow of rival Fox News. Earlier this month, Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox abandoned its takeover attempt of Time Warner. That close call could be what’s driving the overhaul at Turner. Murdoch’s attempt may have put the powers that be in survival mode. Turner Broadcasting has been one of Time Warner’s most profitable divisions. There has been understandable concern that restructuring at Turner Broadcasting and CNN could lead to most of its operations moving to New York of Los Angeles. It’s been reported that there are no plans to pull out of Atlanta at this time.