Warner Bros. to slash 800 jobs
Warner Bros. Entertainment is eliminating 800 jobs, or about 10% of its global workforce, becoming the latest media company to take drastic cost-cutting measures amid a deepening recession.
About 600 people will be laid off across all divisions of the studio’s operations, and 200 cuts will come from open positions not being filled.
Warner’s studio headquarters in Burbank will take the brunt of the job losses, with about 450 people being terminated and 150 open positions being shed.
The move is expected to save the movie and television studio more than $50 million annually.
“The changing entertainment landscape, shifting consumer demand and the overall state of the economy have affected companies around the world, and Warner Bros. is not immune to these factors,” Warner Chairman Barry Meyer and President Alan Horn said in an e-mail memo to employees.
The job cuts are occurring even though Warner Bros. ranked first in domestic box- office market share in 2008 as the result of such hits as “The Dark Knight” and continues to be one of the stronger-performing units of Time Warner Inc. But the studio is under ongoing pressure to wring out more costs from its operations.
About 300 positions in management information systems, finance and accounting will be outsourced to India and Poland over the next year. In addition, about 155 people who work in those “back office” positions will be offered jobs with a third-party outsourcing company on the Burbank lot, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The layoffs and outsourcing of jobs will begin immediately and continue over a period of time, the person said.
Warner Bros. is certainly not the only entertainment company to be shrinking its ranks in the down market as DVD sales and other revenue sources decline.
Walt Disney Co. is also shortly expected to make substantial cuts in its ABC television division. On Tuesday, radio broadcaster Clear Channel Communications Inc. slashed 1,850 jobs, or 9% of its workers.
In recent months, several others including Viacom Inc. -- parent of Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks -- NBC Universal, video game giant Electronic Arts Inc. and Hollywood’s largest independent studio, Lionsgate, have downsized as they struggle with the downturns and global economic crisis.
This is not the first time Warner Bros. has been forced to cut overhead. In 2005, the studio laid off about 300 employees at its Burbank studio and more than 100 others in its international operations. The studio employs about 8,000 worldwide, of whom more than half are based in Burbank.
There have already been deep cuts at Time Warner’s headquarters as well as its AOL and Time Inc. operations. Recently, Time Warner took a $25-billion write-down as a result of falling values in its AOL, cable and publishing assets.