Company-wide layoffs began Tuesday at Warner Bros.
The layoffs will affect approximately 1000 staffers spread throughout the company’s divisions. Warner currently has about 8,000 employees. Severance packages will average three weeks of pay for each year of service, maxing out around two years of pay for longtime staffers, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. Each package will vary per employee.
“There is no easy way to deliver today’s message. As you know, we at Warner Bros. have committed to reducing costs across the company in order to meet our long-term financial targets, and that includes cutting staff,” said Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara in a memo to staff. “These changes are challenging, but we believe they will allow us to reallocate resources and position the company for growth and stability in the years ahead.”
Most departments will be immediately affected. Finance, management information services, technical operations and international territories have more complex restructuring and may see cuts in the first quarter.
Insiders believe that the production side could be hurt the least, if at all, given Tsujihara’s stated commitment to increasing content creation.
“Our global franchises will be the foundation of our movie business going forward, but our slate will continue to be the biggest and most diverse in the business,” Tsujihara told investors in New York City on Oct. 15. “This allows us to continue to attract the best film makers, to reach the broadest audience and to create opportunities for breakout films that themselves become important global franchises.”
Tsujihara confirmed layoffs were imminent in a memo to staff in early September.
In August 2014, the studio’s parent company Time Warner turned down a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch for $80 billion which forced frugality throughout its subsidiaries. Buyouts have already started at Turner, which includes TBS and CNN. The takeover bid may have accelerated the layoffs, but they were likely in the works regardless of Murdoch’s advances.
Warner Bros. saw $5.03 billion in worldwide grosses in 2013. The studio is currently in third place at the box office behind Fox and Disney.
Read the entire memo below:
There is no easy way to deliver today’s message. As you know, we at Warner Bros. have committed to reducing costs across the company in order to meet our long-term financial targets, and that includes cutting staff. These changes are challenging, but we believe they will allow us to reallocate resources and position the company for growth and stability in the years ahead.
We’ve now completed much of our company-wide review, and most business groups will be announcing staff changes this week, beginning today. However, some groups, including Finance, MIS and Technical Operations, have been engaged in more complex reorganizations; they will make some staff changes now, with most coming in the first quarter of next year. Similarly, international territories will proceed according to local policies and protocol, and most of their changes will be announced in the early part of next year.
I know that every employee around the world is a part of Warner Bros.’ success, and it’s difficult to lose colleagues who have helped make the Studio the global industry leader it is today. As always, we are committed to taking care of our employees, and we will be as generous as possible with those who are impacted by these cuts.
These are difficult decisions, and we don’t take them lightly. We examined every aspect of our businesses to ensure that we were restructuring in a way that would allow us to minimize the impact on our employees, while continuing to adapt to the changing global marketplace. With your continued help and support, I am confident that Warner Bros. will remain the best studio in the world, while preserving the culture that has made this company so special.