Channel 4 to axe an extra 50 staff

LONDON - Channel 4 is set to make 200 staff redundant in the coming weeks - 50 more than first planned when it unveiled a £100m cost-cutting programme in September.

Channel 4: cutting an extra 50 jobs
Channel 4: cutting an extra 50 jobs

The redundancies will span several divisions, including new media and marketing and commissioning. It is thought the broadcaster received more applications for voluntary redundancies than expected, which has given it extra leeway to increase the total number of job cuts.

Of the total 200 figure, there will be 100 voluntary redundancies, 50 compulsory, and the rest coming from not filling vacant positions or the closure of divisions such as 4Radio and digital sales house 4DS. It is understood that there will be no additional redundancies from Channel 4's 162-strong commercial team on top of the 22 cuts announced in November.

In September, the broadcaster announced plans to axe 150 jobs to save £100m over this year and in 2009. Most of the 200 staff will leave at Christmas, with the remainder departing in the New Year.

A Channel 4 spokesman said the broadcaster has "gone further than the original cuts" as it is a prudent measure given the uncertainty of the ad market next year.

"We are doing this because we think this is prudent management. We have taken more voluntary redundancies than we originally expected in order to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies. We feel we have now done as much as possible for Channel 4 in terms of self-help."

Channel 4 has estimated that its ad revenues will fall between 5% and 10% next year and has warned that a further £25m will be cut from its £575m annual programme budget.

It is currently in negotiations with Ofcom and the Government to find a solution to its future funding. Ofcom estimates Channel 4 will face a £150m annual funding deficit as digital switchover nears completion and TV ad revenues continue to decline.

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