Hungarian public broadcaster MTV lays off 86 staff

By Laszlo Kriston

    As part of a wide-scale restructuring, the 1700-staffer Hungarian state broadcaster Magyar Televizio (MTV, www.mtv.hu) will lay off 86 people in August, following last week's agreement with the employees' union.

    MTV will lay off 76 individuals in editorial departments and 10 in physical service jobs, less than one-third of the originally planned 250 that MTV's 2008 business plans envisioned.

    The streamlining comes at a time when MTV about to open a new production facility in Budapest.

    Union leaders argue that MTV will be staffed below the standards in European public broadcasting, thereby more prone to outsourcing production. In addition, they said, previous layoffs resulted in budget increases as replacements were hired.

    Meanwhile, in an effort to catch up with industry-wide norms, m2, the second channel of MTV, ceases analogue emission and switches to digital on Aug 1. MTV will also venture into HD (high-definition) broadcasting during the Beijing Olympic Games.