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Paramount Global is the latest entertainment and media company to scale back its workforce. The company announced a mass layoff today, which it claims is necessary for “returning our company to earnings growth.”

“[U]nfortunately, part of streamlining costs means that today, we will begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to some of our very valued colleagues across Paramount,” wrote CEO Bob Bakish, whose last reported compensation package was $32 million in 2022.

It has been widely reported that 800 people will be impacted by the layoffs, representing a little over 3% of the company’s 24,500-person workforce. Paramount Global operates numerous broadcast and cable networks including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, as well as Paramount film studios. We published a list of their animation-related holdings a few years back.

In a letter to workers, Bakish thanked the workers he was laying off for helping the company “advance our mission of unleashing the power of content around the world.” He added, “These adjustments will help enable us to build on our momentum and execute our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about.” (The full text of Bakish’s letter to employees is below.)

The layoffs come amid uncertainty about the company’s future as the company’s cable-driven business model hasn’t transitioned smoothly into the streaming era. Shari Redstone, who is a majority owner of Paramount Global through the holding company National Amusements, is looking to unload her stake. Warner Bros. Discovery and David Ellison’s Skydance are among the companies that have expressed interest in acquiring Paramount’s assets.

In the coming weeks, it will become more clear how these layoffs impact the animation side of Paramount’s operations. Unconfirmed reports on social media have suggested that the preschool learning brand Noggin has been strongly affected by today’s layoffs. Noggin operated as a cable channel between 1999 and 2009, and was relaunched in 2015 as a standalone streaming service. Paramount was attempting to sell off the unit per a report last November in Deadline.

Here is the full text of the memo that Bakish sent to Paramount employees this morning:

Team,

As we shared at Bob Live in January, returning our company to earnings growth is a top priority in 2024. This will require us to continue to grow revenue, while reducing costs. And unfortunately, part of streamlining costs means that today, we will begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to some of our very valued colleagues across Paramount. We will be notifying impacted employees who are based in the U.S. by the close of business today. We’ll share details directly regarding next steps and will do all we can to support you during this time of transition.

There will also be impacts in some of our offices based outside the U.S. Those notifications will occur over time in line with our local legal obligations in each of the countries where we operate. To those with whom we are parting ways, we are incredibly grateful for your hard work and dedication. Your talents have helped us advance our mission of unleashing the power of content around the world. We are a better company because of you. While I realize these changes are in no way easy, as I said last month, I am confident this is the right decision for our future. These adjustments will help enable us to build on our momentum and execute our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about.

We are coming off of a blockbuster event with Super Bowl LVIII that showcased the full power of Paramount. We’re launching a big slate of new and returning primetime programming on CBS, and last night marked the return of Jon Stewart to The Daily Show. We continue to release films, like Bob Marley: One Love this week, which reinforce our heritage as one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie studios. And we’re coming together as One Paramount more than ever, with continued commitment to our values, culture imperatives and fostering an inclusive workplace.

We should all take time this week to support one another – our colleagues who will be impacted, as well as our teams remaining – in adjusting to this change. Speaking personally, I want our entire team to know that I am committed to sharing updates when we’re able to. As always, I am continually grateful for your commitment to our company. And I’m confident we will navigate this transition and emerge stronger than ever.

Best,
Bob

Follow the Animation Industry Layoff Tracker to keep track of companies in animation, vfx, and games that are downsizing.

Pictured at top: The long-running Spongebob Squarepants is one of Paramount Global’s most popular animated series.

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.