As you know, MEN Media is going through perhaps the most difficult period in its history as we contend with steep falls in our revenues. The recession, combined with longer-term changes in the way our customers and audiences behave, is having a serious impact on all areas of the company.
We need to reduce our costs substantially to remain viable as a business, and in March we announced a number of changes within MEN Media, including redundancies, designed to do that.
At the time we said that Channel M would be subject to a separate review, albeit one with the same objective: a sustainable future for our business. Like our newspapers, Channel M has come under severe pressure in terms of falling revenues, and it is now making unsustainable losses.
The review of Channel M is now complete, and we have today spoken to staff about a number of proposed changes at the station.
From June 2009, the schedule will be scaled back to focus on an early evening magazine show featuring news and information for Greater Manchester and on general sports programming. In addition, we are proposing a reduction in the number of people employed at the station, which is likely to result in 41 redundancies across different functions.
The company continues to believe there will be a successful future for local TV in the UK. Channel M will continue to broadcast, and we reserve the option to restore aspects of the schedule should economic circumstances improve.
We will continue to explore the potential of this progressive idea, and remain in a strong position to take advantage of such opportunities as they develop.
In the meantime, though, there is no option but to make these difficult but necessary changes to our business.