MTV Networks Drops the Axe

Lays off around 75 staff

MTV Networks is axing around 75 staff Tuesday, executives at the company confirmed. The cuts mainly affect mid-level executives in the program development department, digital division and scheduling at the company's music and logo group which houses channels including MTV, VH1 and Logo.

A spokeswoman confirmed the news saying the cuts were a result of the recession. "We have been taking a look at our business and how to position ourselves for future growth. It's pretty much the economy," she said, adding that the cuts accounted for less than 1% of MTV Networks' workforce. The executive couldnt discuss how many people the company employs or confirm how many people are exiting or which channels they work for.

A separate executive put the number at around 75 positions. While one executive outside the company said MTV bore the brunt of cuts. Ten positions were said to be eliminated at Logo, the channel geared at the gay community. The lay-offs come just days after the departure of MTV Networks veteran programming czar Brian Graden who said last week he would be leaving at the end of the year. Brian Graden is currently president of MTV Networks Music Group and is also president of Logo . He oversees programming for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo and has been a force at the company for the past ten years.

MTV Networks which houses successful cable channel brands such as Comedy Central has had difficulty in recent years with MTV. The channel, while still a big player in the teen market, has seen a 20% decline in ratings in April and May among the young adults that once came for music videos and now stop by for reality shows such as The City. The change over from program ratings to C3 ratings had also initially hurt MTV along with other fast-paced entertainment oriented channels, given the nature of the programming which tends not to be taped.

According to Credit Suisse, the channel has showed ratings declines for the past two years with the exception of the fourth quarter of 2007. Credit Suisse estimates that Viacoms ad-supported channels will see a 7% decline in ad revenue for 2009.

No further cuts are expected and the downsizing does not affect MTV Networks entertainment group or the company's kids and family group.