The Walt Disney Co. has initiated the second phase of layoffs, releasing thousands of employees in its efforts to cut approximately 7,000 jobs in the current year.
As per the company’s statement, this is the second round of cuts, and a third is expected to follow. In March, the company had already started reducing its workforce of 220,000 people, and with this ongoing round that will continue till Thursday, the total number of eliminated positions is expected to reach approximately 4,000.
According to a Bloomberg report from last week, Disney’s recent layoffs are part of CEO Bob Iger’s initiative to reduce annual costs by $5.5 billion.
The company’s focus is now on prioritising popular franchises and well-established brands while reducing its investment in general entertainment.
Disney Entertainment, which manages the firm’s non-sports-related film and TV ventures, is the main area where job cuts will occur. The job cuts are spread across all of Disney’s divisions, from its Burbank, California headquarters to the ESPN sports networks based in Connecticut.
ESPN has started informing employees about job cuts, as per reports on Monday. The latest round of layoffs will primarily affect the sports network’s off-camera staff, as per sources, reported the Financial Express.
Further cuts to on-air talent are expected to be made around mid-year, with a combination of salary reductions and layoffs.
The third and final round of layoffs is anticipated before the start of summer.
Disney’s shares had risen by 14 per cent this year through 21 April’s close. Hourly workers at Disney’s theme parks won’t be affected by the job cuts, as per the company’s statement.
The company is currently trying to contain losses on its Disney+ streaming service, launched in 2019. Wall Street’s attention has now shifted from subscriber growth to the high costs of running online video platforms.
After the company revealed a quarterly loss of $1.47 billion from streaming, including ESPN+ and its controlling stake in Hulu, Iger returned to Disney as CEO in November.