NBC Universal plans to eliminate about 700 jobs, or 5 percent of its workforce as part of a sweeping plan to cut $750 million in administrative and operating costs and remake itself for the digital age.
The plan, to be announced today, portends major changes at the news division and confirms fears of employees who have been living with rumors of layoffs for months. The staff reduction at the General Electric Co. unit, which houses the NBC broadcast network and cable channels including USA Network, will begin with buyouts, offers of early retirement and attrition.
The restructuring follows a July initiative that NBC Universal Television Group President Jeffrey Zucker billed as a comprehensive review of a media business that needs to change with evolving digital technologies. The company has been challenged by a ratings decline at NBC that is only beginning to turn around, and NBCU last week said second quarter profit dipped 10 percent from a year earlier.