Layoffs are in store at U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 amid a continuous decline in TV advertising, Variety has confirmed.
The Guardian, which first broke the news, reported that as many as 200 jobs could be cut, marking the company’s biggest round of layoffs since 2008. According to Channel 4, the layoffs are necessary to “invest more” in the broadcaster’s “digital future.”
“Channel 4 is a wholly commercially funded and self-reliant broadcaster known for producing iconoclastic programmes and generating enormous value for the U.K. creative economy. Like every organisation, we are having to deal with an extremely uncertain economy in the short term and the need to accelerate our transformation to become a genuinely digital public service broadcaster in the long term,” a Channel 4 spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “As a result, we need to continue to divest from our linear channels business and simplify our operations to become a leaner organisation. This will enable us to invest more in our digital future and in our remit to make distinctive and disruptive British content, increasingly focused on streaming and social channels.”
The statement continued, “Whilst organisational change is never without personal impact, it is a necessary response to allow us to stand out and succeed in a world of global entertainment conglomerates and social media giants, so we can inspire new generations of viewers and ensure Channel 4 remains a relevant and rebellious force in British creative and cultural life for the long term. By doing so, we will further continue our support of Britain’s uniquely brilliant independent production sector. We will share further details with our staff, partners and stakeholders soon.”
In response to the 2008 financial crisis, Channel 4 cut nearly 25% of its staff. According to the Guardian, this round of layoffs is expected to mainly concern London-based employees, with those in its commissioning and operations teams the most likely to be affected.