A Swan Song at MTV

Everyone wants their YouTube, but it remains to be seen whether the younger generation still covets their MTV. In fact, the Viacom-controlled station announced this week it will cut 250 jobs nationwide, effective immediately.

Viacom is, of course, simply trailing behind its big-media counterparts that have slashed jobs in the last year (Disney’s 650 jobs, Time Warner’s 6,000 jobs, and NBC Universal’s 700 jobs) and intend to sharpen their digital focus.

The layoffs represent about 6% of the company’s 4,500 worldwide workforce, and are expected to cut across the company’s operations, according to an internal memo.

Some executives affected include Paul DeBenedittis, director of planning and operations, MTV Digital Media; Salli Frattini, senior VP of production; Kathy Flynn, senior VP of production events; Laura Nelson, senior VP of communications at VH1; and Eric Sherman, senior VP of VH1 Classic.

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The company says it plans to focus more attention to online entertainment. In order to capture the attention of the younger YouTube-addicted generation, MTV Networks executives will allow users to take videos from a number of its websites to post on their own blogs and sites.

Viacom recently demanded that YouTube remove more than 1,000 video clips. It is expected that Viacom’s move will help to lure viewers away from YouTube, and also control its own programming and advertising.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


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