The Hollywood strikes may be over, but the industry to which workers are returning is undergoing turmoil.
On top of writer and actor withdrawals that shut down nearly all film and TV production for months, the entertainment industry is undergoing a downsizing that began in 2022 when Netflix lost subscribers for the first time, angering Wall Street. streaming. The picture office hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic, and advertisers are cutting back, leading companies from Disney to Netflix to make sweeping layoffs.
The film and sound recording industry shed 44,000 jobs from May to October, when employment stood at 436,000 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Netflix missed their numbers and Wall Street woke up,” said Paul Hardart, director of NYU Stern’s entertainment, media and technology program. “The narrative changed fundamentally. Now we’re going into this contraction.”
A wide range of companies and employees were affected, from entertainment giants to independent production companies to Hollywood talent agencies.
There is no guarantee that the companies are done cutting. Growth prospects are uncertain, but companies are sure to please Wall Street when they cut costs.
Consider: Disney’s stock price took a bump after an earnings call in November in which CEO Bob Iger raised its target for cost savings to 7.5 billion dollars. Warner Bros. Discovery’s the share fell 19 per cent. after it reported a bigger-than-expected loss and admitted it wasn’t sure when the advertising market would recover.
More consolidation among legacy media companies and independent production companies is widely expected, often resulting in downsizing.
Joanna Sucherman, who places high-level executives at Disney, NBC and Fox through her company JLS Media, expects hiring to resume in 2024, but slowly. Entertainment companies will return to staffing up, but the jobs will be in stronger growth areas like gaming, streaming and advertising, more so than in filmed entertainment programming. “The business is going to look different,” she said.
Here are the Hollywood companies, listed alphabetically, that have made layoffs since the summer.
Amazon laid off less than 1% of its global communications staff, which included roles at Amazon Studios, Prime Video and Music, Deadline reported. The move followed a reduction of around 100 in Studios and Prime Video in April. Company-wide, the tech giant has announced 27,000 layoffs in the past year.
Anonymous Content: October
Talent management and production company Anonymous Content laid off 8% of its staff, or about 13 people, in October, Variation reported. Areas covered included representation, television, film, literary, media rights and branded entertainment. Anonymous is known for shows including HBO’s long-running “True Detective,” Rami Malek’s “Mr. Robot” and Emmy-winning comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” and films such as “The Revenant” and Oscar winner “Spotlight.” “
Earlier this year, Anonymous CEO Dawn Olmstead and COO Heather McCauley left the company.
CAA, arguably Hollywood’s largest talent agency, laid off 60 employees in August, Deadline first reported, with cuts from several departments and many junior agents affected. Sources told Deadline that strategic decision-making on cuts began before the Hollywood strikes halted deal-making as well as production; they came a year after CAA completed its acquisition of ICM Partners, a combination it eliminated about 100 jobs.
DreamWorks Animation: October
About 70 jobs, or 4% of the workforce, were cut at DreamWorks Animation in October. The move was part of a shift in strategy away from producing all films fully in-house, Cartoon Brew reported. The iconic studio has “Trolls Band Together” opening in theaters Nov. 17 and has family-oriented series “Curses!” streaming on Apple TV+.
Fifth season: August
The film and television production company formerly known as Endeavor Content laid off 30 people, or about 12% of its workforce, across executive and administrative roles. The company cited the two Hollywood strikes for the cuts. Fifth Season is known for the films “In the Heights” and “Just Mercy” for Warner Bros., Oscar-nominated “The Lost Daughter” for Netflix and 14 Emmy-nominated “Severance” for Apple TV+.
NBCUniversal cut close to 50 employees in November, Variety reported, with the majority of layoffs hitting the company’s streamer, Peacock. A company insider told Variety that the cuts were part of a strategic restructuring and that many of the roles would be filled. NBCU has seen pockets of layoffs over the past two years, cutting its ad sales teams in January and previously eliminating roles at E! Entertainment and other departments.
The leading streamer hasn’t been immune to layoffs, most recently cutting a handful of drama and overall execs in November, Deadline reportedafter a reduction in its animation department and restructuring its business division, leading to the departure of senior lawyers. The streamer cut about 450 people in 2022 after its subscription growth fell early that year.
The streamer and device maker laid off more than 300 people, or about 10%, after reporting a net loss of $108 million in Q2, It was reported by TechCrunch. The cuts followed a staff reduction of 200 in March. The advertising-driven company also lost its head of advertising, Alison Levin, to NBCUniversal in November.
The premium cable network and streamer laid off more than 10%, or around 67 people, exiting the UK and Australia as it prepares for its future as a standalone business, CNBC reported. Lionsgate bought Starz for $4.4. billion in 2016, but the company plans to spin Lionsgate off as its own publicly traded entity this year.
Talent agency UTA experienced a small round of layoffs in October, representing less than 1% of staff, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The cuts followed a similar downsizing in February at the company, which has been on a spate of acquisitions in recent years, with talent and literary agencies Curtis Brown and Fletcher & Company, strategic consultancy MediaLink and executive search -company James & Co.
Warner Bros. Discovery: August
The entertainment giant laid off marketing professionals at its Max streamer, the latest in a series of widespread job cuts adopted by WBD to justify the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. Reports put the latest reduction in the double digits.