Channel 4 will cut jobs and spending

150 staffers will be pink-slipped in plan to save $186 mil

LONDON -- A poor advertising outlook and "some of the most challenging economic circumstances" in the broadcaster's history will force Channel 4 to slash 150 jobs -- about 15% of its work force, chief executive Andy Duncan told staffers Tuesday.

The latest cost-reduction program -- aimed at saving 100 million pounds ($186 million) over two years -- comes as media regulator Ofcom is to announce its recommendations regarding the broadcaster's longer term financial future, scheduled for Wednesday.

The broadcaster, which also encompasses digital channels E4, More4 and FilmFour, said it will cut 2008 group program spending by more than 25 million pounds ($46 million) from the 617 million pounds spent in 2007.

An additional 25 million pounds will be culled from marketing, new business development and back office services, and nearly 50 million pounds ($93 million) will be cut from budgets in 2009. Duncan said the new headcount will be achieved initially by offering voluntary redundancies and staff consultation in a bid to minimize compulsory pink slips.

"With revenue falling, we've no alternative but to cut costs. My particular regret is the impact of these job losses amongst our skilled and dedicated work force," Duncan said.