Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish recently asked his staff to prioritize “managing costs” and earnings growth amid expectations of looming layoffs and deal chatter surrounding the entertainment giant.
On Tuesday, the CEO made things official, unveiling plans for an estimated 800 job reductions in the U.S. and cuts abroad over time. The company had about 24,500 employees, as of its last 10-K disclosure, which reflects staff count in Dec. 2022. Bakish’s memo coincides with what had been an expected, significant move to cut costs early this year as Wall Street evaluates Paramount’s prospects as a standalone company.
“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,” Bakish wrote in a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “We will be notifying impacted employees who are based in the U.S. by the close of business today.”
The announcement was made just after its channels (CBS, Nickelodeon, Paramount+) hosted Super Bowl LVIII, which broke a ratings record with 123 million viewers. Added the CEO: “There will also be impacts in some of our offices based outside the U.S.,” with staff to be notified “over time.”
Bakish concluded: “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 move arrives after a year of cost cuts and corporate reorganizing in 2023 that saw Showtime merge with flagship streaming service Paramount+, MTV News shutter, a stake in BET put up for sale (and then taken off the market) and the studio weathering the production impact of dual work stoppages throughout the summer.
Year to date, Paramount stock is down around 7 percent as mogul Shari Redstone, who controls the conglomerate through National Amusements, is speculated to be evaluating offers to sell part or all of the media empire. In its last quarterly earnings disclosure, Paramount topped revenue estimates for how much it could cut losses in its streaming unit (only losing $238 million) but faces persistent questions about whether it can scale up to compete with much larger rival companies like Netflix or Disney.
Read Bakish’s memo below.
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.