TV18 Undertakes Major Restructuring; About 200 Staffers To Get Laid Off

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Television Eighteen is laying off 12% of its permanent staffers (about 200 people, according to a company source) as part of a major restructuring exercise which will see the operations of the company’s Hindi and English business news channels getting merged.

In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said it was merging “overlapping and common operations at the back-end” of CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz. Both channels will continue to maintain separate identities, the company said. CNBC TV18 is the market leader in the English business news space.

The move will result in annual savings of 20% of operating costs or Rs65 crore in cost and interest savings, the company said, adding that the move would contribute towards the company’s commitment to retire about Rs300 crore in debt.

“It is our belief that the next stage of growth and profitability of our business news operations will come from a more synergistic entity that combines the strength of two powerful and complementary brands,” Network18 group CEO Haresh Chawla said in a statement. For the quarter ended 30 September, TV18 posted net losses of Rs56 crore and revenues of Rs118 crore.

A company source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the layoffs would mostly affect technical staff in broadcast operations. The impact on journalists (non-camera) at the channel is “marginal”, the person said. The company has worked out a severence package for those getting laid off based on the number of years they have spent at the company, with the minimum being 2-3 months of “full salary”, the person said, adding that many staffers who are getting laid off are being absorbed by the network under contract or on a freelance basis.

The person said the company has neither cut salaries of unaffected employees not does it currently have plans to do so.

According to another person who has knowledge of the developments, the restructuring plan was drawn up by an external consulting firm.

The TV18 scrip closed at Rs78.75, up 2.54% from its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange, where the benchmark Sensex closed at 17,021.85, up 1.41%.

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How long can you ride the gravy train? The plot has to fall of at some stage right…..

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