Turner Broadcasting head John Martin has been pushing ahead with a plan called Turner 2020, which will streamline and “futureproof” the company ahead of it’s fiftieth anniversary in 2020. Under Turner 2020, there will be a good deal of cuts and lay-offs. Martin has said that the cuts will allow for more resources to be put towards struggling Turner properties.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker got on the Tuesday news call last week, presumably the morning editorial call that Zucker regularly joins, and told employees that cuts will be coming to CNN. Lay-offs have been hitting CNN recently, in part of the channel’s digital initiatives. Now, Zucker is saying that further cuts will be coming to the network. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained a partial transcript of the call. “We are going to do less and have to do it with less,” according to Zucker. It is this line that has been generating controversy, especially in light that it was Zucker who said CNN needs “more shows and less newscasts,” in an interview with Capital New York. News operations are expensive and have not been delivering ratings as high as the CNN Original Series. However, Zucker has shown a willingness to pre-empty Original Series for live news and schedule overnight CNN International simulcasts.
READ via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I want to address the note from John Martin that was sent yesterday and I know it’s on everyone’s minds. What I will add is that clearly we are in the next phase in the process that John laid out earlier.
“We now have a sense of what Turner is expecting from CNN. I am working with the senior management team at CNN to figure out what this means for us. This will result in changes and what we do and what we stop doing.
“We need to continue to protect what we’ve been doing so brilliantly for the last few months. We need to have the ability to do what we’ve been doing.
“On the other hand, we are faced with reality, we are going to have to do what we do with less. As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made. I will be meeting with senior management of CNN. You will hear from your manager in the next week or so.
“We are just now moving into the next phase, I know this is on a lot of people’s mind. We are going to do less and have to do it with less.
“As difficult as this message is to share, I thought it was important to be transparent.”