ESPN (DIS) laid off 150 employees on Wednesday, the majority within studio production, digital content and technology roles; behind-the-scenes positions. The cuts equate to roughly 2% of the company workforce. No on-air talent is being cut, but it is expected that management will let the contracts of several SportsCenter anchors expire within the next 12 months. The WWL laid off 100 staffers, including many on-air personalities, back in April; after cutting 300 positions in October 2015 (4-5% of the workforce).
Howie Long-Short: Despite the negative publicity surround ESPN of late, the company is still profitable. DIS reported the company’s cable unit, which also includes A&E and the Disney Channel, generated $1.24 billion in profit during fiscal Q4. ESPN is the crown jewel of that unit. The company may not be as profitable as it once was, but it’s not dying.
Fan Marino: Former ESPN Titans insider Paul Kuharsky was among those laid off in April. He’s since launched his own, team focused, paywalled site (paulkuharsky.com). For $5.99/mo. you can have access to Paul’s analysis and insight on the franchise, but for $150/mo. Paul will become your friend; phone number, golf game and drinks included. He offered 22 of those packages, sold them out and has since formed a waiting list. Brilliant. Howie and I have decided we too are now looking for friends.
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