Global TV axes 200 in revamp

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Canadian free-to-air network Global Television on Thursday said it will cut about 200 jobs by creating four "broadcast centers" to serve local TV stations countrywide.

Global, one of two national TV networks operated by CanWest Global Communications Corp., said it would concentrate HD and digital production in Toronto; Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; and Vancouver.

The first superstation will open in Vancouver in the spring, with the remaining three to open within 18 months.

Global said the four facilities will develop and feed content to local TV stations countrywide, enabling "substantial cost efficiencies" and the elimination of an estimated 200 jobs.

Canada's Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, which represents about 1,000 members at local Global Tele-vision stations, reacted angrily to the cuts.

"Global's decision to drastically cut back its workforce is yet another sign that big broadcasters are deserting the very communities they purport to serve, while attracting large national advertisers for those very same markets," said Peter Murdoch, the union's vp media.

The move is the latest in a series of blood-lettings at major Canadian broadcasters amid increasing industry consolidation.

It also comes as Canada's broadcast regulator in November will consider whether to approve a $2.3 billion takeover of rival broadcaster Alliance Atlantis Communications by CanWest Global Communications and equity partner Goldman Sachs & Co.

If the deal is approved, CanWest Global intends to combine its Global Television network with 13 Alliance Atlantis cable channels that Goldman Sachs will acquire as part of the takeover.
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