"It has become evident that a different organizational model was needed if we were to continue to be leaders."
—--MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston


CEO Says First Major Reorganization Since 1989 Is Necessary "To Put Our Audience First"
MTV is usually a trendsetter. But in the case of layoffs, the network has let other companies take the lead, waiting until today to jump on the bandwagon.

In a memo to his troops, MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston, announced restructuring that will result in layoffs throughout the company—adding that MTV hasn't restructured its organization "in any way" since 1989. Today's retooling had been expected.

450 staffers have been let go, about 8-9% of the workforce.

The effort includes integrating the company's previously separate online operations with the networks and completion of management restructuring at VH1. Additionally, Nick at Nite and TV Land organizations are being consolidated while TNN's move to New York and integration into the company is completed.

MTV's animation strategy will be farmed out to outside companies, and affiliate marketing departments are being centralized as well. The memo also noted the consolidation of MTV and Nickelodeon Latin American organizations and hiring more local staff internationally, and staffing lighter in central offices.

Last month, Freston said his division would post positive revenue and cash-flow growth this year (hitsdailydouble.com, Oct. 11). Today's memo closed with somewhat less positive news:

"We are doing everything we can to ease the transitions of employees who are affected by these changes, including provisions for enhanced severance, outplacement counseling and employee assistance counseling. Over the next two days, all employees will have meetings with their supervisors about plans for their departments moving forward.

"MTV Networks has always been a great source of creative excellence mixed with phenomenal financial performance," Freston's communiqu adds. "Our industry is dynamic and exciting and can change rapidly. We have never seen a more challenging time than now. Earlier in the year we cut many marketing and other activities, but it has become evident that a different organizational model was also needed if we were to continue to be leaders. Simply put, continuing to put our audience first and delivering the quality and creative programming they expect from us, makes continued solid financial performance a necessity.

Thank you for your understanding and for all of your contributions to MTV Networks."

Let's hope our bosses are this nice when they lay us off.