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Fox offers staff buyouts as part of US$250 million cost-cutting move

21st Century Fox is looking to cut costs by US$250 million and will offer a “generous benefit package” to staff who voluntarily resign by 23 May.

An internal memo sent out by Fox Networks chairman & CEO Peter Rice published on online entertainment publication Variety, said the move was in response to rapid industry changes.

Rice added it was also part of “structural changes” the company will undertake for the rest of the fiscal year by “increasing investment in some parts of the company while making cost reductions in other areas.”

The memo said that colleagues who fit a specific set of criteria will be offered a “generous benefit package” if they decide to voluntarily resign.

“This is the right thing to do for our business because although technology is rapidly changing our world, the global hunger for our brands and content will continue unabated and making the right decisions now will provide our company with many exciting opportunities for continued growth and success,” he added.

A Fox Asia spokesperson said currently the move impact is US operations only. Marketing has also reached out to Fox for further information.

In recent years the media landscape has faced immense competition.

Late last year FOX International Channels announced the company would ramp up its investment in production of Chinese content, along with a renewed focus on Japan and Korea to capitalise on emerging opportunities in these markets. As a result, the senior management team overseeing North and Southeast Asia was restructured to  align with these objectives.

Moreover, Netflix’s debut in Asia earlier in January has left many in the broadcaster industry jittery about the future of their business. Soon after its entry, broadcast satellite TV company, Astro Malaysia Holdings also saw its shares further affected following news of Netflix’s entry into the market.

However, the TV business has for a long time been struggling and exploring new areas for growth – which has invariably led to cuts and shuffles on its work force.

Long before Netflix’s entry into the region, Malaysian broadcast giants Media Prima also offered to pay its employees to exit the company as part of its staff cuts scheme. The company was then looking to cut its workforce by up to 10%.

In Singapore, local broadcasters Mediacorp also redeployed over 50 employees to what it has called growth areas and removed some existing vacancies in April last year.In this reshuffle, 33 employees will be laid off and offered severance payments and outplacement support. The move came as Mediacorp made the announcement to become more customer centric, moving away from traditional media lines towards a focus on specific consumer groups.

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