Layoffs keep hitting Amazon, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, and more entertainment companies — here’s the list of those with recent cuts

  • The entertainment industry shed 44,000 jobs from May to October amid strikes and retrenchment.
  • A wide range of companies were impacted, from entertainment giants to independent producers.
  • Hiring could pick up in 2024 but will be slow and selective.

The Hollywood strikes may be over, but the industry that workers are returning to is in turmoil.

In addition to the writers’ and actors’ walkouts, which halted almost all film and television production for several months, the entertainment industry is undergoing a retrenchment that began in 2022, when Netflix lost subscribers for the first time, causing Wall Street to turn against streaming. The box office hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic, and advertisers are cutting back, prompting companies ranging from Disney to Netflix to cut thousands of jobs.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the motion picture and sound recording industries shed 44,000 jobs from May to October, when employment stood at 436,000.

“Netflix missed their numbers, and Wall Street woke up,” said Paul Hardart, director of the entertainment, media, and technology program at NYU Stern. ‘The story fundamentally changed. We’re about to enter this contraction.”

From entertainment behemoths to independent production companies to Hollywood talent agencies, a diverse range of companies and employees were impacted.

There’s no guarantee that businesses will stop cutting. Growth prospects are uncertain, but companies that cut expenses are sure to please Wall Street.

Consider this: Disney’s stock rose after CEO Bob Iger raised his cost-cutting target to $7.5 billion during a November earnings call. The stock of Warner Bros. Discovery fell 19% after the company reported higher-than-expected losses and admitted it didn’t know when the advertising market would recover.

More consolidation among legacy media companies and independent production companies is widely anticipated, which frequently results in job losses.

Joanna Sucherman, whose company JLS Media places high-level executives at companies like Disney, NBC, and Fox, predicts that hiring will resume in 2024, but slowly. Entertainment companies will resume hiring, but the jobs will be in higher-growth areas such as gaming, streaming, and advertising rather than in filmed entertainment programming. “The business is going to look different,” she told me.

Here are the Hollywood studios that have laid off employees since the summer, listed alphabetically.

October, according to Amazon.

According to Deadline, Amazon laid off less than 1% of its global communications staff, which included positions in Amazon Studios, Prime Video, and Music. The move came after a round of layoffs at Studios and Prime Video in April. In the last year, the tech behemoth has announced 27,000 layoffs.

October Anonymous Content

Anonymous Content, a talent management and production company, laid off 8% of its employees, or around 13 people, in October, according to Variety. Representation, television, motion picture, literary, media rights, and branded entertainment were all affected. Anonymous is best known for HBO’s long-running “True Detective,” Rami Malek’s “Mr. Robot,” and the Emmy-winning comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” as well as films such as “The Revenant” and Oscar winner “Spotlight.”

Anonymous CEO Dawn Olmstead and COO Heather McCauley left the company earlier this year.

CAA: The month of August

CAA, arguably Hollywood’s most famous talent agency, laid off 60 employees in August, according to Deadline, with cuts coming from multiple departments and many junior agents affected. According to sources, strategic decision-making about cuts began before the Hollywood strikes halted dealmaking and production; they occurred one year after CAA closed its acquisition of ICM Partners, which resulted in the elimination of approximately 100 jobs.

October, DreamWorks Animation

In October, DreamWorks Animation cut about 70 jobs, or 4% of its workforce. According to Cartoon Brew, the move was part of a strategy shift away from producing all films entirely in-house. The iconic studio is releasing “Trolls Band Together” in theaters on November 17 and has the family-friendly series “Curses!” streaming on Apple TV+.

Fifth Season: August

Endeavor Content, a film and television production company, laid off 30 people, or about 12% of its workforce, in executive and administrative positions. The company blamed the layoffs on the twin Hollywood strikes. Fifth Season is best known for films such as “In the Heights” and “Just Mercy” for Warner Bros., Oscar nominated “The Lost Daughter” for Netflix, and 14 Emmy-nominated “Severance” for Apple TV+.

November, NBCUniversal

According to Variety, NBCUniversal laid off nearly 50 employees in November, with the majority of the layoffs affecting the company’s streaming service, Peacock. According to a company insider, the layoffs are part of a strategic restructuring, and many of the positions will be filled. Over the last two years, NBCU has seen pockets of layoffs, cutting from its ad sales teams in January and previously eliminating roles at E! Entertainment and other divisions.

November on Netflix

The leading streaming service has not been immune to layoffs, most recently laying off a handful of drama and overall deals executives in November, according to Deadline, following a reduction in its animation department and restructure of its business division, which resulted in the departure of senior lawyers. After its subscription growth stalled early that year, the streamer laid off approximately 450 employees in 2022.

Roku: November

According to TechCrunch, the streamer and device maker laid off more than 300 people, or about 10%, after reporting a net loss of $108 million in the second quarter. The layoffs followed a 200-person staff reduction in March. In addition, the company’s advertising chief, Alison Levin, left for NBCUniversal in November.

November is the month for Starz.

According to CNBC, the premium cable network and streamer laid off more than 10% of its workforce, or approximately 67 people, and exited the UK and Australia as it prepares for its future as a standalone company. Lionsgate paid $4.4 billion for Starz in 2016, but the company intends to spin it off as its own publicly traded entity this year.

The month of October

According to the Hollywood Reporter, talent agency UTA laid off a small number of employees in October, accounting for less than 1% of its workforce. The layoffs come on the heels of a similar reduction in headcount in February at the company, which has been on a buying spree in recent years, acquiring talent and literary agencies Curtis Brown and Fletcher & Company, strategic advisory firm MediaLink, and executive search firm James & Co.

Warner Bros. Discovery: August

The entertainment giant laid off marketing pros at its Max streamer, the latest in a series of widespread headcount cuts that WBD has enacted to justify the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. Reports put the latest reduction in the double digits.

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