Italian web cuts staff as ad revs fall

La7 TV axing a quarter of its editorial staffers

MILAN — Telecom Italia’s La7 TV channel is to ax 25 journalists, a quarter of its editorial staffers, the troubled network announced on Wednesday. 

The economic down-turn and weakening ad revenues were blamed for the crisis.

Giovanni Stella, a senior executive from Telecom Italia, said the cuts would affect sports coverage and “various editorial units” and would see the demise of the La7 New York correspondent post after the U.S. elections in November.

Additional job losses involving non-editorial staff were planned, he added.

In the face of the economic problems and depressed ad sales he said that La7 “had no choice but to restructure; cutting losses and developing the multimedia side.”

The news prompted an immediate threat of strike action from remaining journalists, according to La Repubblica newspaper.

In reply, Stella warned that excessive industrial action, particularly if it hit the channel’s digital terrestrial service, would only lead to further job cuts.

The National Press Federation union, FNSI, said that La7 was a victim of pubcaster RAI and Mediaset’s duopoly in Italian TV, that “impeded true pluralism.”

Although called the third TV network in Italy, La7 attracts less than 3% of the primetime audience.