Quirky and irreverent millennial-aimed web content is not on the corporate agenda for AT&T, which announced today that it will shut down Turner’s Super Deluxe.
The division currently has 54 full-time employees, per Variety. It’s not clear how many of them will be laid off, though they are being encouraged to apply at other Turner divisions.
According to a report in the LA Times, Super Deluxe’s president, Wolfgang Hammer, delivered news of the shutdown this morning at a meeting. The paper reports that the laid off employees will receive “about two months of severance.”
AT&T bought Time Warner in June for $85 billion and renamed it WarnerMedia. Turner, which also operates Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, is part of WarnerMedia. The division said in a statement:
“Turner is proud of the unique brand Super Deluxe has built over the past three years, and the cutting-edge content and innovations this incredible group of very talented people has made. However, there are now massive changes in the social and mobile-first ecosystem and duplication with other business units in our new WarnerMedia portfolio. Super Deluxe found inspiring ways of connecting with a new generation and many of their best practices will be adopted by other Turner properties as we redirect this investment back into our portfolio.”
In another example of AT&T’s restructuring of its digital portfolio, WarnerMedia this week abruptly shut down Drama Fever, a streaming service focused on Korean drama.
In terms of online video, AT&T seems to be doubling down on Otter Media, which runs Ellation Studios, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and VRV. In August, the telecom giant spent $600 million to acquire the Chernin Group’s stake in Otter Media, giving AT&T a controlling interest in the company.
The loss of Super Deluxe will be especially felt by the indie animation community. Besides an in-house crew of artists, the channel had commissioned many unique animated shorts from the likes of Max Winston, Benjy Brooke, Alan Resnick, Amy Lockhart, and Devin Flynn.
Last month, Super Deluxe announced that it would produce a mixed-media tv series based on the popular U.K.-produced webseries Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared.
The series was being developed by Blink Industries, the company that produced the original shorts, and Conan O’Brien’s production company Conaco. The fate of the project remains unknown at this point, though it’s likely that the other stakeholders will continue to move forward and search for another production partner.