Job cuts at Sky News as ‘falling business confidence’ hits advertising revenue

Sky News workers have been told to brace for staffing changes as the news channel battles with falling advertising revenue amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a note sent to staff at the end of March, CEO Paul Whittaker warned them that neither Sky News nor its parent company News Corp would be immune to the current economic downturn.

Whittaker says Sky News is doing everything it can to avoid cutting jobs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

“What we do, what you do, to ensure critical information is shared with the community is of vital importance. For those of you working across our newsrooms, on the road or remotely from home, thank you for your continued commitment in these difficult circumstances,” read the note.

“Over recent days we have unfortunately seen many companies having to reduce their workforce due to mandated business closures, travel and trade restrictions, and rapidly changing consumer habits. This will unfortunately have an impact on jobs at News Corp Australia and Sky News Australia.”

While leadership is doing its best to ‘minimise job losses’, Whittaker said quick action needs to be taken. Like other media outlets, Sky News staff are expected to be asked to take leave over Easter and all non-essential projects have been paused.

“Over the coming days we will need to talk to some of you about a range of options for you to help reduce our cost base. Where possible, these discussions will include part-time work, 9-day fortnights for non-operational staff and taking annual or long service leave. We will also be directing some of you to take some leave across the Easter period,” said Whittaker.

The goal, said Whittaker, is to retain as many jobs as possible.

Sky News is facing a similar situation as other media businesses. News coverage is hitting new highs in its audience figures, but falling revenues are impacting the financial future of these companies.

Ooh Media and Southern Cross Austereo both requested staff take leave over Easter and implemented pay cuts, as did News Corp Australia. Nine has cut back on some of its titles and the impact has also been felt at Seven where staff have been asked to take pay cuts.


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