Just because the movies seem to be working this summer and the flood of deals at Cannes indicated that the appetite has returned to the acquisitions business, that doesn't mean studios are immune to layoffs. Fox has become the fourth studio this week to lop staff. The studio has laid off 12 in home entertainment and 10 in IT. It's described as a minor realignment that occurred mostly in the analytics group for Fox Home Entertainment and the IT group that supports them.
deadline, EXCLUSIVE: That's about 1% of the Warner Bros' total domestic work force. When I asked about it, Warner Bros Entertainment issued this statement, “As part of the continual review of our business operations, Warner Bros. Entertainment will be undertaking limited staff reductions in our home entertainment and consumer products divisions. The total number of employees and positions impacted by these reductions is a relatively small percentage of our domestic workforce.”
Add Walt Disney Studios and Lionsgate to the companies laying off staff. Disney's will be roughly 5% largely in the distribution area with other areas impacted as well. Lionsgate laid off less than 20 people as part of a reorganization affecting home entertainment and service areas. And, Viacom No. 2 Phillippe Dauman said this about Paramount Pictures signalling what may be layoffs there: "As the home entertainment stream is challenged, fewer DVDs are being sold, so you have to review your home entertainment overhead. That's adjusting to the business model. We’re very focused on that. We continue to work on the overhead there."
deadline, UPDATE, 3:50 PM: The folks at Paramount say that we misunderstood Dauman. He wasn't trying to say that he plans to make cuts at home entertainment, they say. He was simply talking in general terms about being vigilant about all of Paramount's costs. That's not how it looks to me, but why don't you decide for yourself? Here's the transcript of Dauman's response to a question about how he might "improve Paramount's fortunes":"There are some things you can control in the movie business…that is the overhead. It doesn't matter what movie you make. You can control that; that's money in the bank if you can do that. And we have continuously improved that part of it. You continually have to adjust. For example, as the home entertainment stream is challenged, fewer DVDs are being sold, so you have to review your home entertainment overhead. That's adjusting to the business model. We’re very focused on that. We continue to work on the overhead there."