ESPN lays off 300: Disney’s ESPN is cutting about 300 jobs, or 4 percent of its staff, amid signs that the traditional cable bundle is less far-reaching than it once was.
ESPN spokeswoman Amy Phillips confirmed the number of job losses Wednesday.
The Bristol, Conn.-based sports channel is one of the linchpins of the traditional cable bundle of hundreds of channels, which is under pressure from viewers migrating online. A few are choosing to bypass paying for a cable subscription entirely, opting instead for a growing number of choices of online TV alternatives.
The job cuts are a “necessary part of our continued strategic evolution to ensure ESPN remains the leader in sports as well as the premier sports destination on any platform,” said ESPN CEO John Skipper in a memo to employees that was posted online.
Disney in August trimmed its TV profit outlook because of a loss of ESPN subscribers. ESPN gets money from cable and satellite companies that carry its channels, and it’s the most expensive of the basic pay TV channels. Data provider SNL Kagan has estimated that ESPN costs cable and satellite TV companies $6.61 per monthly subscriber.
So ESPN comes under pressure as people skip the cable bundle or choose cheaper TV packages with fewer channels.
The company has said that it doesn’t expect big declines in traditional TV subscribers over the next few years. But CEO Bob Iger said in August that if the business declines, Disney would consider selling ESPN straight to viewers.
There are already big media brands doing that, like HBO, CBS and Showtime.
For affected ESPN employees, Skipper said they would get a minimum of 60 days’ notice, severance packages and job search assistance.
Buy Nike from Mike: Nike is opening a Michael Jordan-only store in Chicago’s Loop this weekend.
The new Jordan Brand store opened Saturday. It will sell merchandise with the trademarked Michael Jordan “Jumpman” silhouette. Nike also plans stores in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto featuring the former Chicago Bulls star. Jordan Brand offers basketball, training, sportswear and kids’ products.
Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker says Jordan’s popularity opens up a “world of opportunity” for the company.
Nike said it will report Jordan Brand financial results separately from its basketball division.
Sarah Mensah is general manager of the Jordan Brand in North America. She says consumers wanted a place to see everything Jordan-related. She says stores will feature items chosen “specifically by Michael.”
Southwest Bucks: Southwest Airlines Co. reported third-quarter net income of $584 million.
On a per-share basis, the Dallas-based company said it had net income of 88 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 94 cents per share.
The airline posted revenue of $5.32 billion in the period.
Southwest shares have dropped 3 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has declined almost 2 percent. The stock has risen 19 percent in the last 12 months.
TRAPPED AND SUING: A woman who was trapped in her car for nearly a week after crashing off a Colorado highway is suing General Motors over alleged defects in her 2009 Chevy Malibu that she says contributed to the crash.
Kristin Hopkins, who lost the lower half of her legs in the crash, filed a federal lawsuit claiming that her car’s electronic stability control failed to engage and that car’s electric power steering gave out on Red Hill Pass near Fairplay on April 27, 2014. The suit claims that GM knew of a defect in the Malibu in 2008. GM wouldn’t issue a specific comment when asked for a response.
SELECTED: Robyn E. (Windon) Vittek, a Tiltonsville resident, has been named director of the Mount Lebanon Public Library.
The library, located on Castle Shannon Boulevard, circulated nearly 600,000 items last year and welcomed 361,000 visitors to the facility. It operates with a combination of state and regional funds and donations of $2.2 million. In 2014, the library received a Best Practices Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association.
Vittek is a Buckeye Local High School graduate with degrees from Ohio State University and Franciscan University of Steubenville, as well as a master of library and information science from Kent State University. She been employed at the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County and Akron-Summit County Public Library, and has held the position of director at St. Clairsville Public Library since February 2014. She has been recognized for her career achievements by the American Library Association and several professional organizations in Ohio.
She will replace Cynthia Richey, who is retiring.
AGENCY EXPANSION: Irvin Insurance Services has acquired Helal Insurance Agency in Bridgeport, officials have announced.
Combined with offices in Wintersville and Bellaire, the agency serves clients in Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. As an independent agency, Irvin Insurance represents carriers such as Grange, Progressive, AAA, Safeco and Hartford. The Wintersville office can be reached at (740) 264-5029.
REVEAL AT LEGAL: Legal Hair and Day Spa, 2311 Sunset Blvd. in Steubenville, will unveil several upgrades to its spa and a renovated salon during an open house scheduled to be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today.
Area residents will be able to tour the newly renovated salon and spa, and enjoy refreshments, register for prizes and giveaways and shop Legal Hair’s selection of hair, skin, nail, and makeup products with 25 percent off their entire purchase.
“We love this business of making our clients look and feel good. Part of achieving this was creating an atmosphere to make them feel pampered and special,” said Leslie Icuss, owner.
Prizes include goodie bags filled with more than $100 worth of savings for the first 50 people in attendance; 10 $25 gift cards that will be given away; and one lucky winner will win a One-Day Escape Package valued at more than $200, which includes a Swedish massage, Eminence Organic facial, a manicure and a pedicure.
“We are constantly trying to raise the bar at Legal Hair and Day Spa. We educate our staff with the best educators in the world and the results have been incredible. Sometimes, as I see clients leaving, even I am impressed at the skill and talent our staff possesses,” Icuss said.
JOINS STAFF: Board-certified interventional cardiologist Dr. Triston Smith has joined the staff at Wheeling Hospital.
Smith recently completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology at Allegheny General Hospital, after he served as chief cardiovascular disease fellow. At Allegheny General, he also served his internal medicine residency.
At Wheeling Hospital, Smith joins it Cardiac Catheterization Lab, consistently nationally recognized for its treatment of chest pain and cardiac arrest. The hospital has received multiple awards for its quick and effective treatment of the deadliest type of heart attack a STEMI (ST elevation acute myocardial infarction) from the American Heart Association. Most recently the hospital was recognized by the AHA for its quick and effective treatment of inpatient cardiac arrest.
Smith received his medical degree, and was class valedictorian, from the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences of Villa Clara, Cuba, and performed his internship at Grenada General Hospital in St. George’s, Grenada.
He is on the executive council of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. In addition, he serves on the Pennsylvania ACC’s Advocacy council and the Lifelong Education Committee. Smith also is a member of the ACC’s Cardiosource Clinical Communities Content Development Team, which is responsible for clinical content related to interventional cardiology and obstructive sleep apnea.
Among the professional societies to which Smith belongs are the ACC, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the American College of Physicians and the Society of General Internal Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine-Cardiovascular Diseases, the Board of Nuclear Cardiology and the National Board of Echocardiography.
Also on the interventional cardiology team at Wheeling Hospital are Dr. Robert Fanning, Dr. Adel Frenn, Dr. Deepak Hooda and Dr. Greg Suero. Smith can be contacted at (304) 243-8452.
Wheeling Hospital also is a Certified Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention).
SOUTHWEST COST: Southwest Airlines is defending a $120 million payment for two gates at Dallas Love Field, saying the deal was legal and cheaper than the price of access at other airports.
The payment to United Airlines is emerging as a key issue in a fight between Southwest and Delta Air Lines, which is trying to keep a toehold at the Southwest-dominated airport.
A federal judge heard three days of testimony and will decide whether Delta gets to stay at the airport by using a Southwest gate. The judge indicated he could rule this week. The loser is likely to appeal, and a jury trial is possible.
YELLEN ON BANKS: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the central bank is committed to making sure that federal supervision of the nation’s community banks does not impose undue regulatory burdens.
Yellen made no reference to Fed interest rate policies during her brief speech to a 160 bankers and financial leaders attending a St. Louis conference.
The remarks were her first public appearance since a health scare last week in Massachusetts. Near the end of a lengthy speech, Yellen, 69, paused for several seconds and stumbled over some words.
The Fed blamed the incident on Yellen feeling dehydrated at the end of a 52-minutes speech under bright lights.