Warner Bros. to ship jobs overseas

Warner Bros., following a trend that is now all too familiar among American companies, is preparing to outsource jobs to India and Poland as part of a studio-wide cost-cutting move.

The Time Warner Inc.-owned studio will join other media companies, including NBC/Universal and Viacom Inc., that have initiated cutbacks and layoffs in the face of weakening entertainment industry revenue and the deepening recession.

Although details of the layoffs at Warner are still to be determined, they are nonetheless expected to affect scores of “back office” workers in management information systems, finance and accounting.

Many of those jobs will be outsourced, according to people familiar with the situation.


Once Warner finalizes its plans, it will conduct training sessions with the outsource workers at its Burbank lot as well as at its offices around the world.

Those who work in other divisions of the studio are also likely to be affected, but it is unclear to what extent.

All department heads at Warner Bros. have been asked to present a plan to reduce costs in their respective divisions, which will include cutting travel and entertainment expenses, trimming marketing budgets and eliminating positions.

In 2005, Warner went through a similar cost-cutting exercise to shore up its bottom line in the face of declining DVD sales, flat movie ticket revenue and a weak TV syndication market.


The belt-tightening resulted in the elimination of about 400 positions -- more than 5% of the studio’s workforce -- including about 300 in Burbank.

Warner Bros. employs about 8,000 people worldwide.

Warner spokeswoman Sue Fleishman declined to give details about the cutbacks, saying, “No decisions have been made.”