People/Biz

Layoffs hit NBCU, AMC Networks, ViacomCBS as restructuring efforts continue

An already difficult year has been made harder for scores of employees as several media organizations are enacting anticipated layoffs designed to recalibrate operations towards a more streaming-focused future. Among the ...
November 19, 2020

An already difficult year has been made harder for scores of employees as several media organizations are enacting anticipated layoffs designed to recalibrate operations towards a more streaming-focused future.

Among the companies that have begun the process: AMC Networks, which is reportedly cutting up to 10% of its domestic workforce. In a company-wide call, CEO Josh Sapan said approximately 100 staff members will be impacted, as the company refocuses on growth for its streaming services — Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC, as well as subscription bundle package AMC Plus.

As Deadline reported yesterday (November 18), NBCUniversal has also begun a new round of layoffs, impacting its Entertainment Networks business overseen by Frances Berwick. Sources are telling the trades that the numbers add up to fewer than 5% of the employees in the division. The cuts come as the company continues its restructuring efforts which have seen significant executive movement over the last few months, most recently resulting in the establishment of the TV and streaming programming structure under Susan Rovner and the departure of longtime NBCU exec Bill McGoldrick from his post heading up original programming at streaming service Peacock.

News about further layoffs at ViacomCBS also filtered out yesterday, with sources telling outlets that up to 100 people from across departments in the merged organization are being let go. The bulk of the cuts, according to reports, is coming from shared services such as finance, legal and technology.

Two weeks ago, WarnerMedia ushered in an anticipated wave of cuts, reportedly impacting between 5-7% of staff, or between 1,250-1,750 employees across departments and divisions.

Meanwhile, the Walt Disney Company has also further elaborated on its restructuring plans, cited by chairman of the company’s General Entertainment Content division Peter Rice as “a big change to our legacy television structure which was built around linear networks,” but with no word of projected layoffs at present. Still, as with all of the companies above, the mandate is to move strategically and increasingly towards the streaming content model. And, as seen above, such moves into a rapidly evolving future frequently come with a present-day cost.

(Image: Shutterstock)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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