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.”