Channel 4 set to announce plan to axe almost 250 jobs | Channel 4
Channel 4 is set to announce plans to cut almost 250 jobs as the British broadcaster adjusts to the decline in demand for advertising.
The job cuts represent about 15% of the 1,300 workforce of full-time staff. Employees will be informed by chief executive Alex Mahon this week, Sky News first reported.
The redundancies would cut a wage bill that has grown above £100m after a recent expansion. The company started examining a restructuring late last year to try to accelerate its digital streaming strategy while protecting its £700m budget for programmes.
National broadcasters must increasingly contend with competition from a host of international streaming services run by large US technology companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple. At the same time, they are exposed to the downturn in global advertising as companies brace for weakening economies.
The Channel 4 announcement could come as soon as Monday, three weeks after the plans were first reported by the Guardian. The broadcaster has already cut back shows, including daytime chatshow Steph’s Packed Lunch, SAS: Who Dares Wins and The Big Narstie Show, in a blow to production companies.
Channel 4 is state-owned but funded through advertising, which accounts for two-thirds of its budget and leaves it vulnerable to downturns. The government considered privatising it last year, but eventually backed down. It is thought the cuts could heavily affect London-based staff because of previous commitments to increase employment in the nations and regions of the UK away from the capital.
The job cuts could outstrip the 200 it made in 2008 during the global financial crisis. Mahon in November said the slump in advertising was the worst since then.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said it was “a wholly commercially funded and self-reliant broadcaster known for producing iconoclastic programmes and generating enormous value for the UK creative economy”.
“Like every organisation, we are having to deal with an extremely uncertain economy in the short term and the need to accelerate our transformation to become a wholly digital public service broadcaster in the long term.
“As a result, we need to continue to divest from our linear channels business and simplify our operations to become a leaner organisation.”