Warner Bros. layoffs Discovery hit Europe, including leadership positions
The uproar at Warner Bros. Discovery has gone international, with the company laying off 29 employees, including several high-level management positions.
According The Hollywood Reporter, Johnathan Young, Vice President of Original Programming, HBO Max EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Christian Wikander, vice president and editor of original programming for the Nordic region; and Annelies Sitvast, the studios head of original unscripted programming, were fired. They follow Mia Edde, who led content acquisition in Turkey and left last year.
The rest of the laid-off employees are all from the teams of these executives and will leave within the next 15 months. The layoffs were expected as the company seeks to reduce “bloat” following the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery in April 2022. The layoffs will continue through September and October and are expected to impact marketing, PR, distribution, sales, legal. and creative departments. Last week, HBO Max cut 70 jobs, representing 14% of its staff.
The layoffs come as Warner Bros. Discovery is changing its European streaming strategy, as it seeks to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single service and roll it out worldwide. While teams currently working on HBO Max Originals for Europe will complete their projects, going forward, Warner Bros. Discovery will no longer order European Originals just for HBO Max. Instead, joint linear programming and streaming teams will be responsible for commissioning and local acquisitions in their respective territories.
The layoffs are part of CEO David Zaslav’s broader strategy to find $3 billion in savings and start reigning in on the company’s massive debt. So far, Zaslav has shut down CNN+ just a month after his debut, canceled several CW TV series and set aside the $90 million. bat girl movie although the movie is almost finished.
More recently, HBO Max removed 36 titles from its streaming service, including the beloved series infinite train and the DCs Aquaman: King of Atlantis, in an unprecedented move that sent shockwaves throughout the industry. The streamer also deleted 200 episodes of Sesame Street and buys his next Batman: Crusader Caped Bruce Timm’s animated series to other networks and streaming services. Although these moves, along with the company’s poor second-quarter numbers, caused the stock price to drop sharply, they are expected to save the newly merged company tens of millions of dollars.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter