The Disney/ABC Television Group, which includes the ABC network, local TV stations and the Disney Channel and ABC Family cable networks, is restructuring its operations, which will result in layoffs across the unit.
About 175 jobs are expected to be cut through layoffs or from not filling open positions, a person familiar with the matter said. The Disney/ABC Television Group employs around 7,600 people.
“As technological advances continue to alter the competitive landscape and viewer habits, it’s incumbent upon us to stay ahead of the curve. To that end, we’ve undergone a review of our organizational structures and processes, and have re-imagined and realigned certain areas and functions to gain efficiencies and better position us for future growth," a Disney/ABC Television Group spokesman said.
The majority of the cuts are expected to come at ABC's TV stations and in technical operations for the broadcast and cable networks, the person with knowledge of the cuts who was not authorized to discuss details publicly said. ABC owns TV stations in several major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.
The restructuring follows similar moves at other units of the Walt Disney Co. and are part of a broader long-term effort to cut costs and slim the company down to better compete in a changing media landscape.
Earlier this spring, Disney's cable sports empire ESPN trimmed between 300 and 400 positions after its internal review. There have also been staff reductions at Disney's movie studio, consumer products and video game units.
The cuts haven't necessarily led to weaker performances, one ABC insider noted. In 2010, ABC News reduced its staff by 400 people, which was 25% of its staff at that time. At that time the network said the moves were necessary if the news unit was to survive. The cuts, while painful, did not stop ABC's "Good Morning America" from overtaking NBC's "Today" in the ratings. Its evening newscast "World News Tonight" is making gains on NBC's "Nightly News."
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