Media Prima announces next round of retrenchment as global media industry is upended

Media Prima Bhd issued retrenchment notices to 300 employees yesterday whose last day of employment will be 31 July 2020. 

These retrenchments were made to expedite the next phase of the company’s business transformation plan announced recently and this phase specifically addresses Media Prima’s cost inefficiencies arising from redundant work duplication among its employees’ duties. 

“The discussions aimed to ensure that the process is transparent and that all obligations to affected employees are given the utmost priority,” the group said in a statement. “All parties understood the need for the business transformation and agreed to the mechanism of fair and equitable compensation to affected employees as governed by the law, respective union collective agreements and employment contracts.”

Due to the disruptive changes that have affected the global media industry over the last few months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been difficult to keep track of the bad news about the news.

Journalists are being laid off globally, and newsrooms have been forced to close due to steep declines in advertising revenue. Despite several media outlets starting off the year with positive outlooks due to the acceleration of digital media, the global health crisis has knocked them off course. 

Besides that, innovation continues to change the media landscape. Most notably was the news surrounding Microsoft laying off more than dozens of its journalists and editorial workers as the company plans to rely more heavily on artificial intelligence to pick news and content for its platforms. 

As for Media Prima, the group posted a revenue of RM238.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020), which is a marginal decline from RM239.1 million during Q1 2019. The Group also posted a net loss after tax (LAT) of RM30.0 million in the first quarter which ended on 31 March 2020 compared to a LAT of RM42.8 million in the previous corresponding period. 

Companies under Media Prima group

However, the group saw positive increase in areas such as digital revenue, commerce revenue and sales which was largely driven by Media Prima’s home shopping network, CJ Wow Shop. 

Media Prima operates four free-to-air television stations (TV3, ntv7, 8TV and TV9), several newspapers, four radio stations, a large stable of websites and several billboard advertising companies, among others.