Disney begins scheduled layoffs of 7,000 jobs

Disney this week will begin the first wave of planned company-wide layoffs, which will ultimately impact approximately 7,000 jobs.

As reported by CNBC, CEO Bob Iger disclosed the news in a memo to employees Monday. He said department leaders will inform the first group of impacted staff members over the next four days. The second, larger round of layoffs will follow next month with “several thousand more staff reductions,” followed by a final wave of job cuts sometime before the summer.

Iger first announced the layoffs during Disney’s fiscal 2023 first quarter earnings call. At the time, he said the company is targeting a total of $5.5 billion in cost savings over the next few years – roughly $3 billion in content savings and $2.5 billion in non-content costs.

Fierce Video reached out to Disney for additional comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

Disney in its annual SEC filing reported 220,000 employees worldwide as of October 2022, with approximately 166,000 employees based in the U.S. All told, 7,000 employees make up roughly 3.2% of Disney’s global workforce.

According to CNBC, the job cuts will impact Disney’s media and distribution division, the parks and resorts business as well as ESPN. In addition to announcing layoffs, Disney in February underwent a restructuring that saw the company divided into three core segments: Disney Entertainment, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and ESPN.

“I am committed to positioning this company for a new era of growth,” Iger commented in February. “Our strategic restructuring will return creativity to the center of the company, increase accountability, improve results, and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”

The impending layoffs come as Disney evaluates its streaming strategy. Iger earlier this month said the company is studying Hulu’s business “very carefully” as it weighs the option of buying out Comcast’s stake in the service. Disney currently maintains two-thirds ownership of Hulu.

Disney is also mulling the possibility of licensing out some IP to third parties to boost revenue. Although Disney has expressed plans to reduce content costs, recent data from Ampere Analysis suggested the company will spend $10.5 billion in original content in 2023.

Disney joins a slew of other media companies that have conducted layoffs in the past several months. Netflix first reported job cuts last spring, with streamers AMC Networks, Paramount Global and Roku following suit later in the year.

Layoffs are also impacting linear TV, as CNN and most recently DirecTV have disclosed workforce reductions.