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MTV Restructures And Lays Off Hundreds

On Monday, October 29, 2001, MTV Networks announced a worldwide restructuring plan resulting in 450 lay-offs, approximately 9% of its full-time staff. The departments most significantly affected are the online divisions and MTV Animation. The once separate online operations will be integrated with the television businesses meaning staffers for the online division will be moved out of their current location at 770 Broadway and merged with the television operation in midtown Manhattan. This move represents the majority of the staff cuts. As for the ill-fated animation studio, CEO of MTV Networks Tom Freston indicated in a company memo that MTV will now rely on outside and independent animation producers. Other restructuring changes will be made in the following locations and departments: Nickelodeon will be restructured and the Nick at Nite and TV Land organizations will be consolidated. A top level consolidation of the once separate MTV and Nickelodeon Latin American organizations and an international division strategy focusing on local staffing, will result in central office cuts. MTV Networks parent company Viacom had previously announced lowered revenues and increased costs stemming from lowered ad revenue related to the events of September 11, as well as a Blockbuster charge of (non-cash) $353 million, principally related to the elimination of less-productive VHS tapes as part of the transition from VHS to the higher margin DVD rental market.