Fandor Lays Off Entire 40-Person Staff Ahead of Pending Assets Sale

The latest blow to the bastion of indie film

Last Updated: December 8, 2018 @ 5:49 AM

Fandor, the streaming service that specializes in independent films, has laid off its staff of about 40 people in advance of a pending sale of its assets, according to the company’s former PR team.

A select few staffers will be retained on an hourly basis to keep the company functioning in an attempt to avoid a total shut-down, the rep added.

Fandor CEO and chairman Chris Kelly announced that the company had “completed a transaction that allows a new entity to seek to continue the service under different management.” He provided no further details about the nature or terms of the deal, or the identity of the “new entity.”

“We continue to hope that the prospect of reaching diverse audiences with great visual storytelling will inspire creators everywhere,” Kelly added in a statement to Variety, which first reported the news.

The mass layoffs and apparent sale follow a series of unspecified setbacks that took place just before Thanksgiving.

Fandor had been trying several ways to expand its reach and drive revenue over the past few years, including inking a partnership with Roku. In September 2017, the SVOD service was one of the first companies to partner with streaming hardware manufacturer on the its ad-supported streaming service The Roku Channel.

Under the partnership, a portion of Fandor’s content streamed on the AVOD service, which Fandor received ad-share from. After the partnership — though not directly attributed to it — the company saw a rise in subscriptions, according to COO of Fandor Felice Oper who told TheWrap in October.

However, despite that increase, the company has fallen to the same fate as many in the digital video industry have suffered in 2018.

The layoffs come a month after Defy Media shut its doors, laying off an estimated 80 staff, and less than a week after Otter Media announced it was cutting 10 percent of its staff. The news also follows WarnerMedia’s closure of its classic movie streaming service FilmStruck, a shutdown that Fandor ironically tried to capitalize on by offering a discount to former FilmStruck subscribers.

Other video-centric companies that have been met with layoffs this year include WarnerMedia’s DramaFever, which shutdown in October; Refinery29, which lost 40 employees that same month; and Mic, a news-focused media outlet that laid off most of its staff towards the end of November.