US media sector braces for brutal year for jobs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:08 AM, July 08, 2019

US media sector braces for brutal year for jobs

The struggling US media industry is facing its worst year for job  layoffs in a decade as news organizations continue to cut staff and  close shop, according to a new survey.         

The consultancy Challenger Gray & Christmas reported this  week that media companies, which include movies, television,  publishing, music, and broadcast and print news, announced plans to cut  15,474 jobs so far this year, of which 11,878 of which were from news  organizations.

That is nearly three times more than the 4,062 cuts announced  in the media sector in 2017 and the highest total since the economic  crisis in 2009.

“Members of the media, especially journalists, have had a  tough few years,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of the  Chicago-based firm.

“Many jobs were already in jeopardy due to a business  model that tried to meet consumer demand for free news with ad revenue.  As media outlets attempted to put news behind pay walls, in many  markets, consumers opted not to pay.”

Some of the notable events this year included the closing of  the Youngstown Vindicator, the only daily in the Ohio city, with 144  jobs lost, and the sale of the New Orleans Times-Picayune resulting in  the loss of some 160 positions including 65 in the newsroom.

But the troubles have also impacted the digital sector with  BuzzFeed cutting 200 employees in January and Verizon eliminating 800  jobs in its media division, which includes Yahoo, AOL, and HuffPost, the  Challenger report noted.

The report noted that media companies have been unable to  keep pace with Facebook and Google in tailoring ads for customers based  on their interests, making it hard to generate online revenue.

It also noted that a rise in browser ad blocking extensions has made it increasingly difficult to monetize online news.

“Job cuts and consolidations are likely to continue until  these companies are able to find ways to create growth in revenue  streams,” Andrew Challenger said.

He added that subscription-based models will only work if  news organizations can convince consumers of the importance and value of their news.

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