Television

MTV Networks AsiaPac fires staff; Nigel Robbins out

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MUMBAI: The bloodletting that Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone initiated early last month when he abruptly sacked Viacom Inc CEO Tom Freston, appears to be having it's knock-on effect in Asia as well.

MTV Networks Asia Pacific, a division of Viacom Inc?s MTV Networks, today announced a whole swathe of organisational changes, particularly at its Singapore headquarters, "to advance the company?s on-going localization strategy throughout the region".

As a result of the changes, permanent positions across a number of departments were made redundant, a company statement said. According to brandrepublic.com, the restructuring will lead to 84 redundancies in the Singapore operation. Also headed out is MTV Networks Asia Pacific president Nigel Robbins. Steven Tan, executive vice-president/COO, MTV Networks Asia, will lead the business until a replacement for Robbins is appointed, it has been announced.

The new structure will see regional functions and corporate roles decentralized from Singapore, in order to shift the focus of resources to local markets and fully empower local operations to drive all of their TV and digital media businesses. Singapore will continue to be the base for the streamlined corporate group, as well as a new unit to manage MTV and Nickelodeon?s South East Asia TV and digital media businesses and the Viacom Brand Solutions (VBS) pan-regional ad sales unit. This group will include creative, production, talent, research and brand expertise, to continue to create innovative, multi-platform marketing solutions for pan-Asia clients.

When contacted to ascertain whether the organisational changes would have any impact on the Indian operations, MTV India managing director Amit Jain declined comment.

Said William Roedy, president, MTV Networks International, ?The distinct market dynamics in Asia demand that our local teams are fully resourced to drive our TV and digital media businesses to the next stage of growth. An evolution of our localization strategy, the new structure further decentralizes our operations in order to improve our operating effectiveness in local markets, which will, in turn, enhance our audience connections and business performance.?

MTV Networks Asia Pacific, which oversees the operation of twenty-two television networks and programming blocks, seventeen websites, and various Asia-specific digital media platforms, informed employees of the structural changes today. As a result of the changes, permanent positions across a number of departments were made redundant.
Robbins commented, ?The task I set out to do was to further challenge the local operations to move in a direction that fostered growth and independence. The first and most obvious step in doing that was to design a streamlined corporate function which allows the individual businesses to take advantage of their own market dynamics on all levels.? Robbins continued, ?With fourteen years invested in this company at both the corporate and local levels, my experience allowed me to identify the approach required for continued success. While it?s upsetting to see many colleagues and friends be affected by this change, I truly believe this realigned focus will take MTV Networks to the next level in Asia .?

New structure in Singapore

As part of the new Singapore-based structure, MTV will establish a new unit to manage MTV and Nickelodeon?s South East Asia TV and digital media businesses, with sales, creative, production, talent, research and digital media capabilities to deliver integrated marketing opportunities for clients. This newly formed division of the company will be led by Christopher Steward, executive vice-president, Viacom Brand Solutions and Southeast Asia, who will report directly to the President of MTV Networks Asia Pacific.

This unit will oversee the day-to-day operations of MTV and Nickelodeon?s 24-hour linear television services, branded programming blocks and digital offerings available in Singapore, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian markets. The division also includes Viacom Brand Solutions (VBS), a brand-focused sales organization that will drive pan-regional advertising sales with a full-service team that can create multi-platform marketing solutions for clients, and retain the creative and brand expertise inherent at MTV and Nickelodeon.

In line with its localization strategy, MTV Networks Asia Pacific?s refined corporate structure will devote more resources locally to position the local businesses to meet the unique demands of the individual markets. With finance, business and legal affairs, strategy, communications, consumer products, program sales and operations all reporting into the president focus is given to corporate roles where regional scale can benefit these businesses. Leaders of the individual MTV Networks operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region will continue to report directly to the President.

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