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MTV Networks to cut 9 percent of work force

Music video pioneer MTV Networks, owner of the popular cable TV stations MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon, said Monday it would cut between 8 percent and 9 percent of its work force.

Jeanine Smartt, a spokeswoman for MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc., said she did not know the exact number of jobs that would be eliminated under the plan.

According to an internal memo obtained by Reuters, the cuts entail absorbing MTV Networks’ online operations into its core business and moving out of separate downtown Manhattan offices.

MTV Networks also will consolidate “Nick at Nite” and “TV Land” organizations, both featuring popular classic television programs.

“These moves are being made in light of many changes in our company and in our industry, and in view of the new economic times,” MTV Network Chief Executive Tom Freston, said in the memo.

In addition, the company will outsource more of its animation used for MTV programs and accelerate its plan to shift its work force toward the local level and away from its central offices, the memo said. Also, the company will consolidate its once separate MTV and Nickelodeon Latin American Organizations.

The plan also entails completing the company’s move to New York, its VH1 management restructuring, and centralizing its affiliate marketing departments.

Finally, the plan also encompasses integrating TNN – The National Network. MTV Networks absorbed TNN, once the country music cable station The Nashville Network, when Viacom bought CBS Corp. last year.

This is the first reorganization MTV Networks has undertaken since it regrouped by brand in 1989.

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