Home Business amount Cost-cutting measures from Warner Bros. Discovery ranks CNN employees

Cost-cutting measures from Warner Bros. Discovery ranks CNN employees

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  • Warner Bros. travel and entertainment expenses. Discovery have been reduced under a new policy.
  • Staff can no longer afford a free lunch for meetings under three hours.
  • Broader cost-cutting measures are expected following the company’s earnings call.

The chief financial officer of Warner Bros. Discovery’s Gunnar Wiedenfels is looking for cost cuts wherever he can find them to hit a $3 billion synergy target for Wall Street after Discovery acquired WarnerMedia for $43 billion. But CNN users, long accustomed to the spendthrift largesse of former chief Jeff Zucker under the WarnerMedia regime, are bristling at some new aspects of the travel and entertainment policy that went into effect last month.

An article on the chopping block: a free pizza.

Staff typically order lunches to lure colleagues into the office for in-person meetings, a CNN executive told Insider, but it is now stipulated that food cannot be spent on such meetings unless they only last three hours or more. Although employee gifts can still be purchased for bereavement, birth and other life events, according to an email memo reviewed by Insider, they cannot exceed $100 and gift cards and vouchers are not allowed.

The T&E policy details what is allowed for different levels of team meal and retreat management planning, even specifying “no cap” for the CEO. The maximum hotel rate for employee travel has been reduced to $400 per night, although New York’s allowance has increased to $550.

Separately, there have been some difficulties regarding the July switch from conferencing provider Webex to Zoom. At a recent town hall meeting in late July, staff received a message that they could not access the meeting online because it had exceeded 500 people. Some staffers had to huddle in groups around cellphones and laptops to hear the executive speak, the executive told CNN.

CEO Chris Licht, now just over three months in his new role, is expected to hold another Q&A session for staff next week.

Much greater cost-cutting measures are expected to be detailed in Warner Bros.’ earnings call. Discovery Thursday. In June, the company began offering voluntary buyouts in its U.S. sales division, with the goal of eventually reducing 30% of the company’s 3,000-person global sales forcethe Information reported.

A separate person familiar with the speculation inside Turner – which encompasses CNN, TNT and TBS as well as Turner Sports – has suggested that some staff fear between 600 and 800 people will be cut from the sales teams of Turner. Another WBD insider pegged the number at significantly less.

A fourth source familiar with the conversations told Insider that details of the rollout of the soon-to-be-combined HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services would be discussed during the earnings call.

Discovery+ announced Thursday that it will launch a CNN Originals hub, starting August 19, which will feature CNN movies and series such as Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”