Swedish public broadcaster SVT slashes staff

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Swedish public broadcaster SVT has announced plans to cut up to 400 staff in an effort to slash some $40 million from its budget over the next two years.

In a press conference on Thursday, SVT head Eva Hamilton justified the cuts, pointing to rising operation costs that are not being covered by revenues from SVT's license fee. An internal SVT memo published in the Swedish press estimated that the public broadcaster was losing around $13 million a year.

Hamilton on Thursday said SVT would streamline its production operations in order to economize. SVT's 24 local channels scattered across the country will chop all non-news programming from their production schedules.

Under the new structure, SVT will divide production into three divisions: news and sports headed by Olov Carlsson; fictional and entertainment production run by Johanna Frelin and a division for interactive services, headed by Lena Glaser.

Swedish commercial competitors have eaten into SVT's market dominance but the public broadcaster's five free-to-air channels still account for around 36% of the Swedish market.
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