×

Viacom Initiates Layoffs in Cost-Cutting Move

Viacom has initiated a round of layoffs, part of a cost-cutting move anticipated since late last year.

It is believed that fewer than 100 employees will be impacted by the layoffs, which will affect multiple divisions of the company. Reductions will be focused on support employees and not those directly involved in content creation.

“[It’s] very important to understand how purposeful our changes have been,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in a memo to employees Tuesday. “It isn’t just about cutting costs – although we want savings, too, and more flexibility to invest in new areas. These moves are really about our continued efforts to create a more agile and efficient organization that can thrive in a time of constant change.”

Bakish signaled in the company’s last earnings call in November that Viacom was looking at some cost-cutting efforts. The affected employees represent fewer than 1% of Viacom’s total staff of 10,000.

Viacom is set to report third-quarter earnings on Thursday.

The staff reductions come almost exactly one year after Bakish unveiled an ambitious reorganization plan for Viacom, home to cable brands such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and VH1, as well as the Paramount Pictures film studio. A significant element of the revamp plan came to fruition last month with the relaunch of cable channel Spike TV as Paramount Network, which Viacom has attempted to position a platform for premium scripted programming with new shows such as “Waco” and “Yellowstone.”

Bakish was named CEO in December, 2016, following the ouster of former embattled top executive Philippe Dauman amid a power struggle for control of ailing mogul Sumner Redstone’s media empire. Viacom and CBS Corp., both controlled by Redstone’s National Amusements, recently acknowledged that they are exploring the possibility of merger — the latest development in an on-again, off again process that began shortly after Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone gained effective control over her father’s companies.

Read the full memo from Bakish below:

Team,

I know there’s been a lot of news in the past week – over the last year, in fact – about change (or potential change) in this company. I think it’s important to remember that so much of this change, while not always easy, has made us stronger. We’ve brought in new talent, re-energized our brands, rebuilt relationships – both inside these walls and out – and taken many other steps to strengthen and evolve our company for the future.

And, yes, sometimes change means making tough decisions – like today, where we made some changes across the organization. While these changes didn’t impact a large percentage of our workforce, I know they were difficult nonetheless. We are saying goodbye to some great team members, some of whom have been here for a long time, and have made an important impact on this organization. We’re so grateful for their contributions, and want to assure you we’re taking many steps to make their transitions easier.

It’s also very important to understand how purposeful our changes have been. It isn’t just about cutting costs – although we want savings, too, and more flexibility to invest in new areas. These moves are really about our continued efforts to create a more agile and efficient organization that can thrive in a time of constant change. I’ll be giving you more context around all of this in our Bob Live on Thursday, and can take any questions you have.

I’m so proud of all we’ve accomplished over the past year, and couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity the change in our industry creates. I want us to be an organization that is energized by reinventing this business, and has the capability and capacity to constantly transform. Let’s continually push ourselves to discover what’s new, and what’s next. Let’s get out of our silos and learn from each other, and create the new faster. Let’s embrace change and possibility.

Thank you for supporting each other through this process, and for your continued focus in driving us forward.

Best,
Bob

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content