ABC News trims expenses, staves off layoffs

President of ABC News David Westin addresses reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California January 21, 2006. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Divisions of ABC, including ABC News, are starting to make cuts as the worldwide economic gloom deepens.

ABC is the latest in a line of belt-tightening entertainment companies. NBC Universal recently underwent $600 million in cost cuts. ABC and ABC News are trying to limit expenses in an effort that has not yet resorted to layoffs.

In a memo to employees late last week, ABC News president David Westin asked executives to fly in cheaper classes and stay at cheaper hotels, canceled print publications and tightened regulations regarding convention attendance and business lunches. The company’s holiday parties also have been canceled.

There are no current plans for staff reduction. ABC News most recently experienced layoffs earlier this year.

In his memo, Westin said ABC News is not immune to the economic downturn affecting the U.S.

“At the same time, the importance of the election and economic stories reminds us how much we have to do to help our audiences absorb and understand what is going on around them,” he wrote. “What we need to do, and will do, is to make sure that we have all the resources we need to cover the news.”

ABC News has managed its costs during Westin’s reign, but 2008 has been an extraordinarily expensive news year because of the extended presidential-primary season and the rest of the campaign.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter