ESPN is preparing itself for another round of layoffs.
ESPN President John Skipper said in a memo to employees on Wednesday that the Disney-owned channel would be laying off 150 employees, affecting roles mostly behind-the-scenes.
Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated.
We appreciate their contributions, and will assist them as much as possible in this difficult moment with severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services. They will also appreciate your support.
The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources.
We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.
Despite breaking records and soaring revenues elsewhere in the Mouse House’s portfolio, ESPN has been a sore spot for Disney’s balance sheet over the last few years as more and more subscribers’ viewing habits continue to shun traditional cable packages. ESPN’s subscriber base has dropped by more than 10 million in the last few years, largely attributed to the “cord-cutting” trend as more consumers cancel their cable subscriptions in favor of on-demand, online video streaming content instead.
Disney already has projects in the works to tap into this trend, including a new subscription-based streaming service—promised to be cheaper than Netflix—scheduled to launch in 2019, hosting content from some of Disney’s tentpole franchises like Star Wars and Marvel.
But any of those services can’t come soon enough for Disney’s beleaguered sports franchise. ESPN cut approximately 100 on-air personalities and staffers earlier this year on top of 300 job reductions in 2015.