TEN denies looming staff cuts

Hamish McLennanNetwork TEN has angrily denied a report today claiming staff are facing the axe as part of a cost-cutting drive by under CEO Hamish McLennan.

Fairfax reports senior managers have been ordered to slash their expenses by 10 per cent and redundancies may be imposed to achieve the targets. A further cut of 10% to the news division is also alleged.

McLennan confirmed to Fairfax Media that he implemented the “Cost Out Program” six weeks ago but said “no fixed targets have been set”.

“This is not some dramatic cost-cutting exercise and there are whole departments that are being left alone,” he said, though he did not name these departments.

“We just said, ‘OK, where are there efficiencies that we can deliver?’ We want to run this as leanly as possible, then re-invest any available money back into programming and the business.”

McLennan would not comment on possible redundancies but said, “We’re investing in news; we’re putting more news on screen than ever before. If you look at what we’re doing with Wake Up and [morning program Studio 10], we’re putting nine hours of live television to air every day. We’re actually adding to the head count.”

But TEN’s Corporate spokesperson Neil Shoebridge has branded the article as misleading and criticised unnamed sources.

“There is no widespread ‘cost out program’ at TEN Network. There is no cost reduction target. They are no plans to make staff redundant. In fact, we have added staff this year,” he said.

“As discussed during the release of TEN Network’s full-year financial results on October 17, we are always looking for ways to improve efficiencies and remove un-necessary costs – as are most companies across many industries. The strict cost control program that started in 2011 is continuing.

“But that does not mean there is a new cost-cutting program. It does not mean we are planning to reduce staff numbers.”

Fairfax quotes McLennan as saying, “If we believe we’re running a perfect business at the moment, we’re kidding ourselves.

“Let’s look at everything we’re doing so we can reinvest in what really counts, which is what’s on the screen.”

14 Comments:

  1. Instead of cutting so many staff all the time, why don’t the head honchos of all these corporations take a pay cut? Do they really need to be paid the amounts they get?

  2. Of course they will deny the inevitable.

    For the past 2 – 3 years they have had flop after flop in prime time and they have spent millions of their morning schedule for god knows why.

    I have said this before, but Lachlan is handling Ten just the same way he did Onetel and we know how that ended up.

    If I was a Ten staff member -I’d be updating my resume.

    If I was a Ten shareholder – I’d be selling right now before the company goes bankrupt.

    And Armchair analysit – totally agree with you. These days Ten management celebrate when they come in third.

    It’s like watching a really bad soap opera.

  3. @Armchair Analyst- what debt is this you’re referring to? This was paid back long ago and the current facility they have is privately backed by board members, they may actually be cash positive currently.

  4. @Daniel
    Easier to argue that dumping Neighbours and switching to evening news and current affairs with George Negus is what killed Ten’s evening lineups.

    Ten tried that and failed. Just as they have tried breakfast twice and failed. They are markets dominated by established players viewers have been watching for decades and almost impossible to strip viewers off.

  5. Shoebridge boasts they have put on staff in the last twelve months. How does that position them legally with the staff they made redundant within the lsst twelve months?

  6. Also, who cares, bite the bullet call Daryl Somers and stick Hey Hey in on Saturday nights, even if it does 600-800K and even if it costs $600k a week its still cheaper than the AFL and will actually guarantee numbers and the halo effect would be great, cos for once there would be eyeballs on the network, launch shows off it, cross promote etc etc

  7. Not sure if 9 still hold the rights, but a 30min stripped 1 vs 100 (a much pacier version than the one 9 did and killed by dragging everything out) would be amazing and would get eyeballs at 6pm – hell start it earlier, at 5:57pm or something or go with News until 5:45pm, then 1vs100 then Sport anything to stop the rot that happens at 6pm

  8. Agree Wake Up is doomed unless major changes are made, however Studio 10 shows good potential and is a lot better than the alternatives on 7 and 9.

    I say it all the time but the lack of a 6pm news service is “Seriously” killing Ten. We all talk about maybe putting a game show there, bringing Neighbours back to the main channel, or even sticking with The Simpsons but the only program that will deliver solid consistent ratings is a local 6pm news. Even if it will be last in its slot I’d guarantee it would be posting a solid 500,000 each night and thus deliver The Project a much better lead in. Maybe Ten can trial it over the summer.

  9. The best way for TEN to cut costs is to cancel Wake Up. Viewers have rejected it outright, so there is now very little chance it will build, about zero!

    Cut your losses now guys and move on, rather invest this money into prime-time where you can potentially get a decent return.

    If Hamish wants to keep control of costs then he should not have wasted the networks precious production money on turkeys like Wanted, League of Their Own, This Week Live, Revealed or The Truth Is. These were all commissioned while Hamish was CEO, so he can no longer continue to blame old shows like Lara Bingle or The Shire for causing all the problems at TEN.

    All networks have flops (well not that many) but there is just no way Seven, or even Nine, would have even broadcast these shows let alone spent money on them!

  10. “We’re actually adding to the head count,” so says Macca. “Look what we’re doing with Wake Up and Studio 10.”
    Surely he could have picked two better examples than the two morning turkeys. Can’t imagine all those involved staying on the payroll for much longer.

  11. Armchair Analyst

    Network TEN is definetly going to keep cutting costs. Ratings are woeful, profits are considerably down and they have a massive debt to service. I am not surprised if this came straight from the top. The maojor shareholders are guarnteaing the debt and i would not be surprised if they are the ones behind this. This will undoubtably not help the Network one bit. Investment in good not bad content is even more important for TEN. I will call it right now. TEN will never be second or first if the current board and shareholders are running this ship.

  12. Perhaps it’s time TEN purchased an updated version of Sale of the Century and stripped it Mon-Fri @ 7pm..

    But, for gawd sake, don’t make it an in-house production!

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