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Broadcast News Cuts Threaten Long-Term Viability

Staff cuts at two of the biggest broadcast-television news outfits in the U.S. foreshadow a shift toward cheaper TV news gathering, as broadcast-news groups face shrinking profits and increasing competition from cable and the Internet. ABC just cut one-quarter of its news staff, a few weeks after CBS shed more than 6% of its staff and three years after NBC began staff losses.

The cuts raise the question of how long news organizations can continue to do more with less. "This is more, done differently," said David Westin, president of ABC News. "I'm finding out, 'Can we thrive in this new world?' " CBS and ABC are in a dicey position. Neither owns a cable-news network that brings in revenue from monthly cable and satellite-TV bills. Time Warner Inc.'s CNN, News Corp.'s Fox News and NBC News's MSNBC will bring in a combined $1.6 billion in U.S. subscription fees in 2010, according to research firm SNL Kagan. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.



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