Sony's belt-tightening results in more pink slips
Sony Pictures Entertainment eliminated its interactive media team on Monday as a fresh round of layoffs hit the studio, TheWrap has confirmed.
The layoffs are across every division and will take place in California and in other Sony outposts in the U.S. and internationally, according to an individual with knowledge. The interactive division included 70 employees, but the cuts are more extensive.
The interactive division is tasked with digital marketing. Some of its work will be outsourced to third party agencies, while other elements will be taken over by Sony's in-house marketing team. Sony's corporate information, technology team and digital operations will also pick up some of the slack, the individual said.
“We are continuously evolving the business to make SPE more efficient and competitive,” Charles Sipkins, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement.
The pink slips come as the studio is undergoing an extensive period of belt-tightening. The new economizing was prompted by a public battle with activist investor Dan Loeb last summer, during which the activist investor — and one of Sony's largest shareholders — tried to pressure the company to spin off its entertainment division. He used a series of film flops such as “White House Down” and “After Earth” to press his case.
Though Sony's board rejected some of Loeb's proposals, CEO Kazuo Hirai and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton acknowledged a need to overhaul its greenlighting process.
Sipkins did not say how many people were laid off.
Sony has been working with Bain & Co. consultants to streamline entertainment operations spanning a film studio, TV studio and music label — among other divisions. TheWrap reported last November that Sony wanted to cut $100 million in overhead, and the studio laid off a few dozen employees while shuttering its technologies group earlier this year. Sony's parent company has also been grappling with losses on its electronics side resulting in the planted elimination of 5,000 jobs globally.
Sony Pictures has also pushed out several top executives, including marketing boss Marc Weinstock and home entertainment head David Bishop, as it overhauls studio operations.