The Disney-owned sports network ESPN will be cutting at least 300 jobs, or four percent of its total staff. This decision was made as the company sees signs that cable bundles are less desired than ever before.
The Washington Post reports that the number of expected job losses was confirmed by ESPN spokesperson Amy Phillips.
The sports channel, based in Connecticut, is one of the key parts of the traditional cable bundles, featuring hundreds of channels. These bundles are beginning to under-perform, as viewers increase their online content viewing. Some have cut subscription cable services completely, choosing instead one of the many online alternatives.
ESPN CEO John Skipper said, in a memo to employees, that the job cuts were necessary to the evolution of the channel, to make sure it maintains its position as the top sports channel, as well as a force across platforms.
Disney altered their outlook on TV profits back in August, due to lower than normal amounts of ESPN subscribers. ESPN receives money from cable and satellite carriers, and it is the most pricey of paid cable channels. Estimates show that ESPN costs approximately $6.61 per subscriber. ESPN is closely examined when people skip cable or choose cheaper, ESPN-less packages.
The company does not predict a significant decline in standard TV subscriptions in the near future. However, in August, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that if business continues to suffer, then the company will consider selling ESPN directly to viewers. This is following the lead of other media brands like HBO and Showtime.
Those affected by the pending job cuts will receive 60 days notice, severance packages, and assistance in locating a new job.