NBC Universal restructuring impacts news operations

On Oct. 19, NBC Universal announced sweeping changes designed to cut $750 million annually in operating and administrative expenses by the end of 2008 and reposition the company to take advantage of new digital efficiencies and distribution platforms.

As part of the restructuring, the company will reduce its workforce by 5 percent — or about 700 people — over that period, close its Secaucus, NJ, -based MSNBC headquarters, relocate the cable network, and create consolidated news facilities in Burbank, CA, for several news operations, including the NBC and Telemundo networks, KNBC, KVEA and KWHY.

MSNBC operations will relocate to the company’s facilities at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, home to its CNBC financial network. According to a company statement, the move “will streamline newsgathering operations and result in better utilization of both state-of-the-art facilities.”

The company will further modernize its newsgathering operations to improve efficiencies “while preserving the distinct editorial values” of NBC and its stations, according to the statement.

The company also is reviewing the operations of its international news bureaus and facilities.

In addition to streamlining news operations, the company announced it would strategically realign its domestic theatrical, home entertainment and television marketing and distribution divisions.

The company also will reduce its dependence on “traditional content distribution methods and advertising models,” by “brining content to consumers sooner on a variety of platforms” and other techniques, the statement said.