- WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told staffers on Tuesday that a new round of layoffs was beginning at the media company.
- The layoffs are part of the massive restructuring Kilar announced in August, as he seeks to elevate the media company's streaming service HBO Max within the organization.
- Read Kilar's full memo to staffers below.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told staffers in a memo on Tuesday that the media company was starting a new round of layoffs that will hit employees based in North America first.
The layoffs are part of a massive restructuring Kilar announced in August — three months after he took the top job at WarnerMedia — which aims to elevate the streaming business HBO Max within the organization.
WarnerMedia's restructuring and job cuts come as other legacy-media giants including Disney and NBCUniversal are also shuffling their ranks to prioritize streaming, as other segments of media like theatrical releases and theme parks have been crippled by the pandemic. They are also part of a long-term shift within the industry from the declining traditional-TV business toward streaming video.
"In August, I first shared news about how we were going to meaningfully change the organizational structure of WarnerMedia (which entailed, among other items, simplifying how we organize our entertainment studios, elevating HBO Max, and consolidating our commercial activities into one organization)," Kilar said in his memo, which was obtained by Business Insider. "Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team."
Kilar did not say how many jobs would be eliminated. But he said the cuts would begin on Tuesday in North America, and that the company would continue to evaluate its businesses outside of the US.
The Wall Street Journal reported in October that WarnerMedia was trying to cut costs by 20%, and that the effort would lead to "thousands of layoffs across Warner Bros. studios and TV channels like HBO, TBS and TNT," citing people familiar with the matter.
The publication also reported this would be the second major wave of cuts at the media company, which eliminated roughly 500 jobs in August.
WarnerMedia already announced in recent months that it's parting ways with a range of high-ranking execs, including former streaming programming head Robert Greenblatt, retiring chairman of Warner Bros. TV Peter Roth, and former marketing chief Chris Spadaccini.
The company is holding a town hall on Wednesday afternoon to address the changes, according to the memo.
Read Kilar's full memo to staffers on Tuesday, obtained by Business Insider:
November 10, 2020
This is a very painful email to write. And for a number of you reading this, I realize it will be even more painful to receive. For this, I am sorry.
In August, I first shared news about how we were going to meaningfully change the organizational structure of WarnerMedia (which entailed, among other items, simplifying how we organize our entertainment studios, elevating HBO Max, and consolidating our commercial activities into one organization). Many of you have patiently waited to hear how the reorganization would affect you personally, which is both uncomfortable and stressful. Reducing this period of uncertainty was one of the many reasons we pushed so hard to get through this work as quickly and as thoughtfully as possible, although it probably didn't feel fast enough. I want to thank you all for continuing to contribute your best, despite this challenging period and the additional pressure of everything else that has been going on in the world.
I've previously shared how critical it is for us to evolve how we operate in the context of best serving customers. As I mentioned a few months ago, this entails simplifying how we are organized, partnering with the very best storytellers, and leaning into world class product and technology as we share our stories directly with audiences across the globe. Our journey entails continuing to excel in our large, core businesses while at the same time investing in emerging businesses where we have the opportunity to meaningfully delight customers.
Today, we have arrived at a number of difficult decisions that are resulting in a smaller WarnerMedia team. This is a function of removing layers and the impact of consolidating previously separate organizations. Starting today in North America, we will be sharing which jobs are being eliminated and which roles have changed. We are continuing to review proposed changes in other countries across our non-US businesses, the timing of which will vary according to local regulatory requirements. Nothing about this is easy. But please know, these reductions are not in any way a reflection of the quality of the team members impacted, nor their work. It is simply a function of the changes I believe we must make in order to best serve customers. For those impacted, we will be offering severance and healthcare packages, in addition to professional services and team member assistance programs.
While I anticipate that organizationally, things will settle down materially in the weeks and months to come (we've worked hard to make this a process with a beginning, middle and an end), I don't want to suggest that our future is static. Rather, our future is about inventing ever better ways to move the world through story … which entails embracing change. I have every confidence in this world class team to do just that.
Please join me tomorrow at 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT where I will try and answer as many of your questions as possible.
To our colleagues who are leaving, I wish there were words to lessen today's pain. Your contributions are a permanent part of this great company and today's news does not change that. I am extremely thankful for all that you have done for this team and this mission. I hope that at some point you will look back on all of it with immense pride.
Until then, please stay well and safe.
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