Paramount Lays Off Hundreds of Workers

Paramount, the owner of TV networks like Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, is laying off hundreds of employees, cutting costs as it continues its painful transition away from traditional television.

About 3 percent of the company’s roughly 24,500 employees will be affected by the layoffs, according to a person familiar with the cuts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive corporate information.

Bob Bakish, Paramount’s chief executive, said in a memo to employees that the cuts were part of a bid to “return the company to earnings growth.”

“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,” Mr. Bakish wrote. “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.”

Paramount is at a crossroads. The company’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, is considering selling her stake in the company, a deal that could bring decades of family ownership to an end. Skydance, the media company that helped produce Paramount franchises like “Top Gun” and “Mission: Impossible,” has expressed interest, but no deal has yet materialized.

Like all its peers in traditional media, Paramount has struggled to keep pace with Netflix as streaming services supplant traditional TV and moviegoing. The company’s biggest streaming service, Paramount+, has not yet become profitable, putting a drag on the company’s profits. Paramount’s streaming division, which also includes the ad-supported service Pluto TV, lost more than $1 billion last year.

Though viewership of Paramount’s cable networks is in decline, parts of its TV business remain resilient. Paramount’s CBS network, which broadcast the Super Bowl on Sunday, generated record ratings for the game, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. About 123.4 million people watched the game, according to Nielsen, up from 115.1 million the year before.

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