×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Layoffs to Hit Disney’s Maker Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

Layoffs are coming to Maker Studios, the multichannel network recently acquired by Walt Disney Co.

Approximately 10% of the 380 employees are expected to be pink-slipped as early as this week, according to sources inside the Los Angeles-based firm.

A rep for Maker issued a statement to Variety but declined to elaborate further. “Maker’s business is constantly evolving, and we routinely reassess our internal resources and make strategic adjustments, reducing staff in some areas while actively hiring in others.”

What is prompting the layoffs, which have yet to be announced to the company’s employees, isn’t clear. Cost-conscious Disney could be looking to trim any excess bloat on an expensive acquisition. It’s also possible select positions becoming superfluous thanks to newfound synergies with an owner looking to make its mark on Maker.

Disney may not be that much of a factor at all in the layoffs considering Maker is hardly the only MCN out there forced to drop employees as they all figure out how to right-size their respective organizations in support of the category’s ever-evolving business models.

That said, Maker is also continuing to add jobs. The cuts are not expected to be concentrated in any one area of the company nor affect top layers of Maker management, which is led by CEO Ynon Kreiz.

Maker was snapped up by Disney in March in a pact that could cost the Mouse House over $900 million, a sum ultimately to be determined by performance-based earn-out.

This won’t be Maker’s first round of layoffs, having eliminated several dozen positions last year after Kreiz took control of the company. The company has also made other, smaller reductions in the past, such as when it made its own acquisition, online-video hub Blip, last year.

Job cuts are not uncommon in the MCN space due to the combination of monetization challenges endemic to companies subsisting largely on online advertising revenue and the operational struggles of very young businesses. Another leading MCN, Machinima, has undergone several waves of layoffs in recent years prior to new management coming in earlier this year.

Like all MCNs though, personnel cuts are the quickest route to cost control as they manage to keep their burn rates in check. But Maker hasn’t had trouble attracting financing, having raised more than $70 million, including a $26 million series C round last September.

The layoffs may also be indicative of the direction Disney is taking Maker, which will be servicing its new owner as a promotional platform for upcoming Disney properties like “Star Wars” that are seeking younger viewers online.

“We can allow the Maker people to substantially improve the distribution and reach of shorter form video using these characters and stories and add their expertise on the production side,” said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger during its first earnings call since the transaction last month.

The company has already been looking to streamline its web properties into a more vertical-centric structure to make for an easier sell on Madison Avenue. Founded in in 2009, Maker claims to have more than 5.5 billion monthly video views and 380 million subscribers across its channels.

Disney did some significant trimming of its own in its struggling Disney Interactive unit in March, eliminating 700 jobs. While Maker is a digital-focused property like many of the acquisitions that have been rolled up inside Disney Interactive, the company remains under the separate oversight of Disney CFO Jay Rasulo.

 

More Digital

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Denies Report That It's Exiting Scripted Dramas, Comedies

    YouTube claims it is not pulling up stakes from original entertainment — denying a report by Bloomberg over the weekend that the Google-owned video service was cancelling plans for “high-end dramas and comedies” and had stopped taking pitches for “expensive” scripted shows. In a statement, a rep said, “YouTube denies the report” and cited its [...]

  • Apple to Launch New Apple TV

    This Is What Apple's New TV Service Will Actually Look Like

    Apple unveiled its much-anticipated video service at a press event in Cupertino Monday, promising a range of originals via its forthcoming Apple TV+ service as well as easy access to third-party video subscription services. But while many of the big names attached to Apple’s video efforts were known beforehand, one significant detail wasn’t: How are [...]

  • Apple Announces Gaming Subscription Service

    Apple Announces Gaming Subscription Service Apple Arcade

    Apple detailed its long-rumored gaming subscription service during a special event it held in Cupertino, California Monday. Apple Arcade is the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and living room, the company said. With a single subscription, you get access to more than 100 new and exclusive games. The games won’t be on [...]

  • Apple News Announcement

    Apple Unveils $9.99 News Subscription Service Dubbed Apple News+

    Apple unveiled a news subscription service called Apple News+ at its services event in Cupertino, Calif. Monday. The $9.99 service gives paying subscribers access to over 300 magazines as well as select newspapers and premium digital news services. “We believe in the power of journalism and the impact it will have on your lives,” said [...]

  • Katie Drummond - Vice Digital

    Vice Names Katie Drummond Senior VP of Digital

    Katie Drummond, who has worked as an editor in digital media and publishing for a decade, joined Vice Media as senior vice president of Vice Digital. Drummond comes on board to take over many of the duties of Ciel Hunter, who left Vice in January as global head of content for Vice Digital after more [...]

  • Apple Event: How to Watch Live-Stream

    How to Live-Stream Today's Apple Event

    Monday is the coming-out party for Apple’s Hollywood ambitions: After years of trademark secrecy about its plans to stream into video entertainment, the tech giant is set to pull back the curtain at a media event. The live program kicks off at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, on Monday, March 25, from the [...]

  • Google Stadia Is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia Is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content