Unvision slashes 6% of workforce

US Hispanic broadcaster Univision is to cut up to 6% of its staff as part of sweeping changes brought in by new entertainment chief Issac Lee.

Isaac LeeAround 250 jobs are at risk from the restructuring, which comes after a year of declining ratings and a US$30.5 million loss in the third quarter of this year.

Most of the cuts will affect Fusion Media Group, which Univision recently established after buying ABC out of the Fusion cable news channel. Fusion’s staff last week unionised, but the English-language division is still likely to shoulder the cuts.

Univision confirmed to the Washington Post that around 6% of its workforce is at risk.

In a memo to staff, chief news, entertainment and digital officer Lee said the cuts came “as we look to strategically bring together several distinct digital media companies into one powerful and nimble digital publishing entity, with many distinct passion points for many distinct, growing groups of readers, listeners and viewers”.

He added conservations about the future shape of the Fusion TV channel were underway.

The restructure will place fusion.net and TheRoot.com within the Gizmodo Media Group, which was established after Univision acquired the assets of Gawker Media. They were made available after Gawker lost a high-profile civil case against wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea).

GMG will hire an editor-in-chief to run the merged unit, with Gizmodo’s John Cook running a digital investigative news team.

“Unfortunately, as a result of some of these changes, and along with a broader streamlining of operations across Univision, some positions across FMG’s business, operations, and editorial teams are being eliminated,” Lee told staff in his note.

News chief Lee was promoted to his current role in July. He was already in charge of Univision’s investments in Fusion, cable channel El Rey, news satire sites The Onion and Clickhole, and Univision Digital.

He has since hired Comedy Central International development chief Lourdes Diaz president of entertainment and FremantleMedia Latin America CEO Adrian Santucho as executive VP of production arm Univision Studios, as Univision attempts to turn around its ratings slump.

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