Mergers across cable operators, the fear of cord cutting, and disruptive changes in distribution and content are driving a rise in layoffs in the cable industry. This summer, we heard of layoffs at Fox and Al Jazeera America, last month it was CNN, Cartoon, TNT and Scripps (HGTV, Food), last week it was AMC Networks ( home of AMC, IFC, WE and Sundance), and today it is HBO. Not surprising in that both CNN and HBO are part of the Time Warner and Turner conglomerate. With layoffs hitting 10% of total staff, it is clear that consolidation and disruption in the cable and media industry are affecting the size of the workforce.
It doesn't take a fortune teller to recognize that more layoffs will come in this fourth quarter. The announcement that AMC has bought a 49.9% stake in BBC America with plans to run that cable network will likely come with additional layoffs too. NBC and Disney saw their share of layoffs last year but could see more in the future. This is not a knock on any of these companies; the industry has followed the classic life cycle curve and as it matures, less growth means less labor. This change is inevitable but the hope is that from disruption springs new job opportunities for all.