Media company Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) laid off about 100 employees on Tuesday as part of its $100.0-million cost-cutting measures. The job cuts have mostly affected support staff, while the employees who deal with content creation are safe. Fewer than one percent of the company’s 10,000 employees are supposed to be cut in this round of Viacom layoffs in 2018.
“It’s also very important to understand how purposeful our changes have been,” said Bob Bakish, Viacom’s CEO, in a memo to employees on 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 gave clues about the company’s cost-cutting plans in the previous quarter’s earnings call in November 2017. The company will be reporting its third-quarter earnings on February 8.
The news of layoffs came almost a year after Bakish announced a reorganization plan for Viacom, which is the parent company of the film studio Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon, and other cable channels. Viacom was once part of CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS), and the layoffs have come as the company considers merging again with CBS.
Viacom Laid Off About 20 Employees in 2017
In 2017, Viacom laid off fewer than 20 employees from the three networks “Paramount Network,” “TV Land,” and “CMT.” The affected staff members were notified about the layoffs the prior day. Spike’s executive vice president of programming, Tom Zappala, also left as part of this move.
Those job cuts were part of a move to centralize operations under Kevin Kay and Keith Cox. The layoffs were announced just a few months before the company had planned to relaunch “Spike” as “Paramount Network.”
Kay, the president of Spike, wrote in a memo to staff that some roles in the three networks would be affected because of the layoffs, and that the decision was taken very seriously. He said it was “an essential step to evolve and grow ” the company’s brands.
Layoffs in the media sector is common these days; the Viacom layoffs in 2018 are yet another addition to the trend. Mergers, partnerships, cost-cutting, bankruptcies, etc. have led to modifications and restructuring that have directly impacted employees at media companies.
“Viacom announces layoffs, shakes up leadership at Nickelodeon,” MarketWatch, February 6, 2018.
“Viacom Initiates Layoffs in Cost-Cutting Move,” Variety, February 6, 2018.
“Around 20 Laid Off at Viacom as Paramount, TV Land Restructure and Spike Exec Exits,” The Wrap, September 12, 2017.
“Layoffs Hit Viacom as TV Land, Paramount Network Merge Key Operations,” The Hollywood Reporter, September 12, 2017.
“Viacom making job cuts at Spike, CMT and TV Land as Paramount Network launch looms,” Fierce Cable, September 13, 2017.