May 6, 2004 6:49 PM PDT

TechTV lays off San Francisco staff

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Comcast to acquire TechTV

March 25, 2004
TechTV told 285 San Francisco employees on Thursday that their jobs are being eliminated, a move that was widely feared by workers after Comcast announced in March that it would acquire the technology cable channel.

Comcast will merge TechTV, owned by Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, with its own G4 video game network when the buyout is finalized next week. David Shane, a spokesman for G4 TV, said the company plans to hire 80 people from the San Francisco office to work at the game channel's Los Angeles headquarters. Employees were given two months notice and various severance packages, he said.

"Today we gave notice to 285 employees that they'll be impacted by the merger," Shane said. "We wanted to give employees as much notice as possible so that they can begin to make other plans."

G4 plans to maintain the San Francisco office as a production facility run by a few employees, Shane said. G4 currently employs 205 people in Los Angeles and a small sales staff in New York.

TechTV, which magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media launched as ZDTV in 1998, broadcasts technology- and Internet-related programs. Microsoft co-founder Allen acquired a majority stake in TechTV in 1999.

In March, Comcast announced it would buy the TV network for an undisclosed sum, with the aim of expanding its G4 technology and gaming channel to 44 million cable and satellite homes. G4 CEO Charles Hirschhorn will become head of the combined company.

Comcast, the nation's largest cable network, sank millions into launching G4 in 2002, in an effort to tap into the $11 billion video game market. While Comcast has made a name for itself in TV services, it also owns majority stakes in programming networks such as The Golf Channel, the Outdoor Life Network and E! Entertainment Television.

In recent months, Comcast has been looking to expand its slate of cable networks. The company in February submitted a $66 billion bid to acquire Walt Disney, but retracted the bid recently.

EchoStar Communications also will have a financial stake in the combined company, terms of which were not disclosed. EchoStar will distribute G4 on its Dish Network satellite TV service.

CNET News.com's Jim Hu contributed to this report.

12 comments

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Bogus!
What kind of way is that to treat this crew? And whose dimwitted
idea is it to merge the only network fully dedicated to
Technology with a Game channel? Lame!
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Going to miss TechTV
Comcast is killing it off quickly... hopefully the old crew can startup a new production!!
Posted by Starr2McGee (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
a new techtv
That would be a terrific idea!
Posted by Maxxam (4 comments )
Link Flag
Morons!
Take an interesting station with lots of great live shows, buy it, eliminate it and try to lead the audience to gaming.

Yeah, that's brilliant. Stupid.
Posted by Jeff Putz (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is everything that is wrong with our country.
Working in the IT industry for the past 15 years I can completely relate with merger philosophy. It should be called rape and pillage because thats all mergers do. I'm absolutely disgusted by hearing about this merger because nothing good will come of it. This is the typical American corporate b.s. that makes me sick to my stomach and demonstrates why we're such a hated country. A group of clueless people sit in a board room and figure this great business plan, dont try to compete with someone when you can purchase your competition and drive them into the ground, corporate pimps if you ask me.

Why cant there be two technology based channels? We have 2-4 Discovery channel off-shoots, there is MTV and MTV2 etc.. Why not have TechTV and G4 co-exists without killing off the staff of Tech-TV, move X-Play to G4 and focus on more gaming and move some of the other tech shows to TTV. Nope cant do that, it would require forward thinking from halfass backwards American CEOs. I wouldnt be shocked if I heard that Comcast trying a new add campaign where their logos can appear on football helmets. Nothing is sacred to Corporate America, pray and worship the mighty $ for it is our GOD.

I dont watch much television however, I watch Tech TV religiously and now I really dont have any reason to watch television anymore. Thanks Comcast youre a bunch of freaking morons.
Posted by eddyb (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Over reaction...
Corporate mergers are "why the US is hated"?

In a world where millions of people are butchered in acts of ethnic cleansing and suicide bombs seem to be the primary negotiation tactic of the day, I've got to think that the "profit be damned" drivers of corporate America rank kind of low on the list of attrocities.

Corporate mergers are a reality in Europe, Japan, and any other capitalist system as well. It sucks when something YOU happen to love fanatically gets a raw deal, or YOU happen to lose your job, but it's a part of the system.

We all want to have nice houses and lead a decent life so, as a result, corporations are run to maximize profit and thereby maximize share price. I always find it disgustingly disingenuous that people will ***** about stuff like this and then, two seconds later, ***** about prices being too high and their 401K value being too low. You can't have it both ways. And if you feel that the problem is capitalism, I'm sure Cuba would love to have more citizens since half their population has relocated to the US under their wonderful communist system.
Posted by mlambert890 (44 comments )
Link Flag
I FEEL THE SAME WAY! Its the Peter Principle:..
The Peter Principle:

People rise to their level of incompetence! A.K.A.: Sh*t Floats to the top.
Posted by Bdubslawman (21 comments )
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