The Walt Disney Company has begun laying off 7,000 employees in an effort to cut costs and streamline its business, Reuters reported, citing a letter sent to staff by conglomerate director Bob Eiger. The agency's source specifies that the cuts will affect several major divisions of the company, including Disney Entertainment, Disney Park, Experiences and Products and the corporate department.
The current round of layoffs will not affect Disney subsidiary ESPN. However, a Reuters interlocutor believes that management will begin cutting unit staff at later stages.
The 2022 media companies began cutting costs last year when Netflix reported losing subscribers for the first time in a decade. In response, Disney began prioritizing profitability over audience growth.
The company will warn affected employees within the next four days, Iger said. A second and larger round of layoffs will take place in April, and Disney plans to complete the final phase by early summer.
In February, the conglomerate explained that cutting 7,000 employees will save $5.5 billion and make Disney's loss-making streaming business more profitable.
A Reuters source confirmed that television production departments would be cut. Disney has been carefully hiding details about the layoffs, but insiders predicted that the restructuring will take place before the company's annual shareholder meeting on April 3.
The conglomerate had previously eliminated the Disney Media and Entertainment division, with its head Kareem Daniel stepping down in November after Iger took back the helm at Disney. Rumors of the cuts came last fall, when Bob Chapek was still CEO, SVB MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said.
Disney Parks and Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D'Amaro sent out a warning to theme park employees that there would be layoffs in the division.
Disney intends to reorganize the company into three core divisions: Disney Entertainment (entertainment content for movies and TV), Disney ESPN (sports programming) and Disney Parks (theme parks, product branding and cruise ship business).