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AT & T Reduces Sales Staff Announcements WarnerMedia Unit

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WarnerMedia began Wednesday to significantly reduce the size of its advertising sales, according to people familiar with the record, insofar as it continues to reshape the activities it had bought under the agreement with Time Warner Inc.

Layoffs focus on selling ads, but do not stop there. AT & T continues to eliminate the redundancies created by the merger of most of Time Warner's business with HBO and Turner into WarnerMedia.

"Today's reorganization involves fewer than 20 job cuts out of a workforce of more than 700 employees in the advertising industry," said a WarnerMedia spokeswoman. "We are not planning any additional job cuts yet."

Donna Speciale, WarnerMedia's top ad sales executive, is among those leaving the company. His departure was reported for the first time by The Information.

Dan Riess, executive vice president of the Turner Ignite business, also shares with employees in various sub-divisions of Turner Ignite, including content partnerships and product marketing.

WarnerMedia employees and industry observers were expecting layoffs in various Turner business units, including ad sales, since the restructuring of WarnerMedia in March by AT & T.

AT & T has great ambitions to increase the company's advertising revenues, but has largely focused its efforts on its Xandr advertising unit. The company created Xandr last year to offer a high-quality multimedia inventory from WarnerMedia TV's digital networks and platforms, as well as media from other content producers, enriched with data from mobile units and high AT & T. flow rate

Turner's existing ad sales operations were largely left untouched when they ran at the beginning of the year, when advertisers booked a large portion of their advertising inventory in the coming season. The initial negotiations of the company have recently ended.

"The sales of advertisements were pending until the conclusion of the initial negotiations," said a person familiar with the case.

WarnerMedia announced earlier this week the new details of its upcoming subscription streaming video service, including its name, HBO Max.

This service is a priority as WarnerMedia and AT & T prepare to compete against Netflix and other streaming competitors. Advertising should be a key element of WarnerMedia's streaming plans, although the company has not yet described its plans to sell advertising on HBO Max.

Write to Sahil Patel at Sahil.Patel@wsj.com

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