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TV18 Broadcast Limited, the arm of Network18 Ltd that runs the channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN Lokmat is trimming its staff by giving pink slips to over 300 employees across various departments. Sources within the company say that a bulk of those who have been asked to go are from the CNN IBN and IBN7 channels.
At the time of filing the report, people were still being handed termination letters and the parking at Empire Business Centre was filled with tensed employees biding their time. One of the terminated employees said, "We were called to the office and were simply handed letters. Almost the entire crew at IBN7 has been asked to leave."
Another employee said: "Those of us who have not been given the termination letters are in terror of being handed one at any moment."
Executives in Independent Media Trust and the human resources personnel from the network sat at the round table putting the termination letters in the respective envelopes and stamping them. "It almost looked like a post office the way they were stamping letters in the conference room," says the tensed employee.
Reliance Industries has indirect control in the TV18 network by virtue of an investment of Rs 4,800 crore it made in Network18 through IMT (Independent Media Trust). Sources reveal that the restructuring is taking place due to pressure of cutting employee cost as a percentage of the total cost . A top source associated with the restructuring had said that the employee cost in the group as a percentage of the total is much higher than what it is in international news channels. An e-mailed query to TV 18 network spokesperson did not elicit any response.
Persons in the know inform that the news business at TV18 will be undergoing a restructuring in order to increase efficiency. When contacted for details on the exercise, TV18 and Network18 management did not answer calls or revert to emails.
In July, Network18 set up the Network18 Newsroom which brought the digital and broadcast news entities under one unit. It has now been learnt that the English and Hindi channels will be integrated as part of the restructuring and if persons in the know are to be believed, Rajdeep Sardesai will be leading the new integrated unit.
Earlier this week, Dilip Venkatraman stepped down from his post as CEO, CNN IBN and IBN7 citing the desire to pursue personal entrepreneurial ambitions. In his absence, Ajay Chacko, CO.