Viacom’s MTVN on Mon became the latest content company to streamline operations while renewing its focus on digital platforms. Some 250 US staffers will lose their jobs while MTVN tweaks operations across its business groups to "allow us to better share resources across our brands, and to invest in our linear channels and other key growth areas," explained chmn/CEO Judy McGrath in an emailed memo Mon morning. "In the U.S., we will build resources against some new businesses—our interactive properties and some of our new networks—and we will make reductions in others… Our industry is at an inflection point, and many companies are going through the process of adapting their business models and organizations to the new realities." MTVN follows NBCU in instituting major restructuring plans related to the emergence of a multi-platform world (Cfax, 12/5). Sanford Bernstein’s Michael Nathanson noted that "top-line has slowed at Viacom, and the new management has inherited a cost structure that needs to be pared down," calling the restructuring "nothing too sinister." On the new-platform front, MTVN’s nets have made big bets in the last 2 years such as the 2005 broadband-service launches of MTV’s "Overdrive" and Comedy Central’s "MotherLoad." In Dec ’06, MTV also unveiled a standalone mobile service called "Bananas." It’s unclear whether cross platform and Web-based advertising models are ready for primetime, but media bigwigs remain beguiled by the potential. Case in point: News Corp chmn Rupert Murdoch said last week that within 5 years more than 10% (up from a current 1%) of the firm’s revenue will stem from Internet-related content. He also noted that few nets launch new series today without online components. — Amid all the news of the restructuring on Mon, MTVN also named Denise Dahldorf as its top distribution executive. Dahldorf, who was promoted from svp, affiliate sales and marketing, national accounts, takes over the top spot from Nicole Browning, MTVN’s former pres, affiliate sales and marketing, and Peter Low, MTVN’s former evp in charge of U.S. cable distribution, who left in a Viacom-triggered shake-up on Jan 11 that also saw COO Michael Wolf exit. And, of course, all of those changes came after the surprise departure of Viacom chief Tom Freston in Sept (Cfax, 9/6).

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