The big get bigger, the small are swallowed up and the mid-size are stranded in no man’s land, as consolidation continues. Two of the biggest deals in the past year were Vivendi’s merger with Seagram and Canal+, and Granada’s purchase of United News & Media’s broadcasting assets. The inevitable follow-up is a review of the books, and what usually shows up is unnecessary duplication of staff positions. Solution? Cutbacks.
Pierre Lesclure, chairman of Canal+, has announced 217 positions will be eliminated in France. An estimated 100 of those positions will come from the main French broadcast network. Lesclure has promised that no employees will be laid off, as all will be offered the option of taking another job at Canal+ or the larger Vivendi/Universal parent company.
At Granada, 100 jobs are slated to be phased out over the next two years. While this represents only about two percent of the company’s total workforce of 5,000, it still adds up to dollars saved while Granada attempts to bring down costs by £60 million (US$85 million). A Granada spokesperson says the company’s production units will likely get off light, with the majority of cuts coming from the broadcast side.
Canal+ plans to place a greater emphasis on encrypted programs (to which only paid subscribers have access), pumping an additional FF500 million (US$65 million) into the programming budget. For Granada, the company has been streamlined into two general divisions: Platforms (Granada’s broadcast interests) and Content (production units). The challenge for both of these companies, is to try to stay sharply focused while continuing to expand.