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AT&T’s Otter Media Axes 10 Percent of Staff in Reorganization

WarnerMedia’s digital gaming site Machinima will fall under Otter umbrella starting next month

Otter Media has laid off 10 percent of its staff as the result of a reorganization within the company, a person familiar with the matter tells TheWrap. The company attributes the “ever-changing” market for digital media as the reason for the staffing cuts.

“As a result of these changes, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions related to the size of our organization and have to say goodbye to some valued colleagues,” Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves said in an email to staff announcing the changes.

The reorganization included consolidating Otter’s direct-to-consumer businesses under Ellation and bringing WarnerMedia’s Machinima into the Otter family starting in January. The company has also unified shared services such as HR and legal across Otter Media and refocused the Fullscreen business to operate as three distinct divisions: Creator Services, which will be led by Beau Bryant; Brand Studio (influencer marketing and custom content) led by Maureen Polo; and Brand Services (social creative and video channel management) led by John Holdridge.

“These groups will be free to operate independently and to integrate when it serves our clients best, while centrally leaning on our proprietary data as a key differentiator in the market,” Goncalves explained in the email. “Focusing on the businesses with higher yields and performance will be integral to overall success.”

The three new teams will report to Andy Forssell, Otter Media COO.

Additionally, Rooster Teeth will now operate as a brand alongside Crunchyroll and VRV, which will be led by Tom Pickett. Goncalves said that changes will be minimal to “ensure that we continue to maintain what’s special about both the Rooster Teeth and Crunchyroll brands and the unique capabilities of each, with the key exception that our consumer brands (including Rooster Teeth) will align all sales efforts for this special collection of brands.”

Otter Media — which was founded by AT&T and the Chernin Group in 2014 to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top video services — is now fully owned by AT&T via a $1 billion deal that took place in August. The company oversees Ellation, which has control over several streaming services including Crunchyroll, VRV and RoosterTeeth. 

“In our work we are at the tip of the spear for how youth consume media and are poised to meet consumer demands, redefine markets and create something worth following,” Goncalves added. “Remember this: our shows, videos, content, events and merchandise are not just ‘enjoyed’ by fans around the world — they’re loved. That love is why we do what we do, and it’s what we’ll continue to do, together.”