NBC Universal plans to cut some 700 jobs and streamline its news organization as part of a series of cost-cutting measures that are expected to save $750 million in operating expenses by 2008.
NBC Universal said it plans to reinvest much of its savings into higher-growth areas, such as broadband-only channels. NBC U's job cuts represent 5 percent of its work force and will include layoffs at the company's 11 news divisions, including on-air talent, writes AP (via MediaBuyerPlanner). The overhaul also includes the relocation of MSNBC from its home in Secaucus, N.J., to headquarters in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center and to another NBC facility in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
NBC U's TV station group will create a consolidated news facility in Burbank, Calif., that will support NBC and its Spanish-language broadcaster, Telemundo.
According to Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal's television group, the company will also stop scheduling high-priced dramas and comedies during the 8-9 p.m. time slot. Zucker says he will focus on cheaper programming, adding that scripted shows cost too much given the lack of advertising interest. Instead, cheaper-to-produce programming such as "Deal or No Deal" or "The Biggest Loser" will fill the space.
The cuts were perhaps not unexpected, as the unit has shown a 10 percent drop in operating profits in each of the last three quarters.