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MEDIA OUTLETS CUT JOBS AS AD SALES FALL. As elections near in the U.S. and the COVID virus roams the world, more people are eager for news. But, as the cover of this Trends Journal articulates, most of what they consume is “junk news.”

Even though ratings are going up, fewer advertisers can afford to support the habit: at least 36,000 workers in media have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts resulting from the economic shutdown, the New York Times reported.

The venerable British newspaper The Guardian is cutting 180 jobs. The Economist international weekly magazine is lopping 90 workers.

Condé Nast, which counts Vogue, Wired, and The New Yorker magazines among its stable, is turfing out 100 from its staff of 6,000.

Vox Media, publisher of The Verge and New York magazine, will bid goodbye to 72 employees.

Even the New York Times is not immune, laying of 68 salespeople.

Across the U.S., at least 50 local newspapers have shut down, according to the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

In France, the assets of the regional daily paper La Marseillaise are being liquidated; the daily Le Parisien will dump 30 employees and end its regional editions.

Online, the Vice Media group will terminate 100 overseas staff and 55 stateside; Buzzfeed is cutting salaries by up to 25 percent and will no longer cover news in Britain, France, or Australia.

In the broadcasting world, the BBC will terminate 520 jobs, almost 9 percent of its staff. Journalists will cover fewer stories, the network has decided.

NBCUniversal has trimmed some executive salaries by 20 percent; ViacomCBS will get rid of about 3,500 of its 35,000 employees, Bloomberg reported.

TRENDPOST: The news industry has been losing readers and ad dollars to online sites for more than a decade. The economic shutdown has accelerated that trend. While some local papers will survive, those that do are likely to be part of a larger business – for example, a newspaper company that also prints business directories and does commercial printing.

By 2040, daily printed newspapers will be a rarity.

NEWS CORP LOSES EVEN MORE MONEY IN LATEST QUARTER. The media empire that owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal reported losing more than half of its ad revenue in its most recent quarter.

Ad revenues slumped 57 percent to $332 million, virtually all of which the company attributed to the global economic shutdown.

News Corp also lost revenue due to the sale of its grocery-coupon business and to fluctuations in international currency values.

The company’s overall loss of $397 million, or 67 cents a share, compounds the $51-million loss of 9 cents a share a year earlier.

Revenue slid 22 percent to $1.92 billion, compared to $2.47 billion year-on-year.

NEWSPAPERS: SUBSCRIPTIONS UP, AD SALES PLUNGE. Gannett, the U.S.’s largest newspaper chain with 261 papers in 46 states, reported a 31-percent increase in digital subscriptions in this year’s second quarter, as revenue from print advertising fell 40 percent and digital ad sales 27 percent.

Advertising often is among the first expenses that businesses cut in hard times.

Gannett responded to the slump early by furloughing most of its 20,000 employees, then recalling most in early July. That, coupled to savings from travel expenses, saved the company $125 million in the second quarter.

Tribune Publishing Co., which owns the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, and more than 20 other papers, recorded a 40-percent gain in digital subscriptions year-on-year, ending the period with 419,000 online readers but a loss in ad revenues.

The company was able to cut operating expenses by 24 percent through employee buyouts early this year and, when the shutdown began, furloughing workers and cutting salaries.

NBCUNIVERSAL BEGINS LAYOFFS. Comcast’s entertainment unit has begun long-expected layoffs as NBCU’s second-quarter revenues dove 25 percent to $6.1 billion, due to television ad sales crashing, movie release delays, and theme parks being shuttered.

The company expects to hold layoffs to no more than 10 percent of its’ 35,000-person workforce.

Television production has not resumed for the next season. When it does, costs will rise as new safety and virus testing protocols are enacted on sets.

NBCU’s future also is clouded by an internal investigation following a news report detailing a toxic and misogynistic corporate culture there.

WarnerMedia, owned by AT&T, could begin laying off employees as early as this week, insiders say.

DISCOVERY SEES LOWER REVENUES. Discovery, Inc., owner of cable television networks The Food Network, HGTV, and TLC, saw revenue fall 12 percent to $2.54 billion during this year’s second quarter, compared to $2.88 billion a year earlier, driven by a 21-percent year-on-year decline in ad sales to $1.27 billion.

Net income crumbled 71 percent to $271 million from $947 million during the same period in 2019.

The company will continue its $2-billion plan to buy back its stock and to launch a new service that would allow viewers to stream shows from all of Discovery’s networks.

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