ESPN President John Skipper delivers his annual pitch to advertisers at the ESPN upfront on May 17, 2016, in New York. Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ESPN Images

ESPN president John Skipper on Wednesday announced layoffs of nearly 150 behind-the-scene workers from various production, technology, and digital content positions.

The layoffs this time are quite different from those that took place in the recent past as the company back then fired top football analysts and reporters including Mark May, Danny Kanell, Brett McMurphy, among others.

Skipper, who is also the co-chairman of parent company Disney Media Networks, sent a brief memo to employees announcing the decision.

He also reposted the memo on the ESPN blog. It read:

“Today we are informing approximately 150 people at ESPN that their jobs are being eliminated.

We appreciate their contributions and will assist them as much as possible in this difficult moment with severance, a 2017 bonus, the continuation of health benefits and outplacement services. They will also appreciate your support.

The majority of the jobs eliminated are in studio production, digital content, and technology and they generally reflect decisions to do less in certain instances and re-direct resources.

We will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.


Meanwhile, ESPN has hinted that the company has not initiated a hiring freeze, something which is evident from Skipper’s last sentence in the memo where he mentions that the “company will continue to invest in ways which will best position us to serve the modern sports fan and support the success of our business.”

“Some writers and editors were expected to be part of today’s layoffs,” The Kansas City Star reported citing an ESPN source.

Unlike soaring revenues elsewhere in Disney's portfolio, ESPN has been a drain on the company's resources over the last few years due to a shrinking subscriber base, Fortune reported.

Subscribers are shunning traditional cable packages and moving on to the new trend — online streaming. Due to this, ESPN’s subscriber base has dropped by over 10 million in the last few years.

However, Disney has plans to cope up with its loss. The company has a few projects in the pipeline, including a subscription-based online streaming service — ESPN Plus — something which it promises would be cheaper than Netflix. It is scheduled for launch in 2019, the Fortune report said.

This is, however, not the first time ESPN has announced layoffs this year. In April, ESPN terminated the employment of an estimated 100 employees, stating that changing industry trends forced the network to make the cuts.

“A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions. Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent line-up this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs,” Skipper said at the time.

“These decisions impact talented people who have done great work for our company. I would like to thank all of them for their efforts and their many contributions to ESPN,” he added.