Bloodbath: Struggling Australian broadcaster sacks management amid staff wipeout

Channel Seven’s struggles continue as a major shake-up leads to mass redundancies with more pain expected.

Bloodbath: Struggling Australian broadcaster sacks management amid staff wipeout
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Channel Seven is undergoing significant upheaval, with the broadcaster facing an ongoing mass exodus of staff.

Reports indicate that the struggling network has dismissed its top management, leaving only chairman Kerry Stokes and his righthand man, Jeff Howard, as "the lone survivors".

The free-to-air broadcaster is grappling with a substantial decline in advertising revenue, which has led to widespread redundancies across both the news and boardrooms.

Sky News Australia Business Editor Ross Greenwood highlighted the gravity of the situation, stating that the network had effectively removed its entire senior management team in "one fell swoop".

“In one fell swoop, the Seven television network completed the exit of its entire management team today,” Greenwood said.

“Already, chief executive James Warburton was gone, along with the head of legal, Bruce McWilliam, and head of news, Craig McPherson. Well, today the clean slate was completed and it was bloody.”

The latest departures include Chief Revenue Officer Kurt Burnette, Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Hopkins, and Head of Sport Lewis Martin. Burnette had been with Seven for over three decades, rising through the ranks, while Hopkins joined about a year ago from Optus.

This bloody exodus is reportedly not over, with trade publication AdNews speculating that up to 100 more employees could face redundancy as Seven continues to cut costs.

Seven West Media has reported a 40 per cent drop in earnings for the first half of the 2023-24 financial year, with net profits plummeting by 49 per cent. Former chief James Warburton attributed this decline to a sharp drop in advertising revenue as traditional TV audiences dwindle and advertisers shift their spending to digital platforms.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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