ESPN eliminates 150 production and technology jobs in the last cuts



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BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) – ESPN is eliminating 150 production and technical employees as the sports transmission giant continues to shift its focus to a more digital future.

The company says the layoffs, which were announced Wednesday morning in a memo to employees, do not include talent on the air and will have minimal impact on the network's SportsCenter news program.

"Most of the deleted jobs are in studio production, digital content and technology and generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and redirect resources," ESPN president John Skipper wrote in a memo. "We will continue to invest in the best possible way to serve the fan of modern sports and support the success of our business"

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The 38-year-old network has been pressured to increase the rates to transmit live events. ESPN has also lost close to 10 million subscribers over the past six years, according to Nielsen Media Research estimates.

The company says it will grow its business in several key areas, including the planned launch early next year of "ESPN +," an application-based service that will allow viewers to buy sports events on demand.

ESPN will open a new studio in New York, which will serve as the basis for a new show with personalities Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose. Another new daily presentation will feature Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, the network said.

The company said it plans to streamline and merge its news gathering operation in all formats and evolve the SportsCenter program. That includes a new digital version of 3 to 5 minutes that was launched this month on Snapchat. It is also working on the launch of the ACC network in 2019.

The sports station has around 8,000 employees worldwide. ESPN fired 100 employees in April, including some on-air personalities. That followed about 300 job cuts in 2015.

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