NEW YORK (Mediaweek) - Current TV, the cable channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore, laid off about 20 percent of its work force Wednesday as part of an overhaul of its programing model.
The cuts affect 80 people, mostly at the channel’s Los Angeles-based production and programing facilities. Pink slips were also handed out in Current’s New York, San Francisco and London offices. In a statement, Current said the reorganization “was not the result of a need to cut costs.”
Originally aiming to showcase short-form, user-generated content, Current is shifting toward a more traditional content strategy, with plans to run 30- and 60-minute programs, many of which will be acquisitions.
According to recent estimates, user-generated content accounted for some 30% of Current’s programing. Current is available in 55 million U.S. households.
In April, Current canceled its $100 million IPO, citing unfavorable market conditions. In its final Securities Exchange Commission filing, Current reported it took in just $2.51 million in ad sales revenue in Q1 2008. Total revenue for the period was $14.5 million.
Outside the business pages, Current made headlines in March when two of its reporters were detained by the North Korean military after illegally crossing into the country from China. In July, former President Bill Clinton successfully negotiated the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.