The expected layoffs to hit HBO and HBO Max that had been rumored since the Warner Bros. Discovery merger have finally hit, but with a few small surprises.
Overall, about 70 people are being laid off today which is roughly 14% of the staff with the majority coming from the HBO Max side. These include folks from Non-Fiction Originals, International, Acquisitions, Casting and Live-Action Family Originals. The last department being scaled back significantly according to Deadline.
Most of the hits were in the programming operation overseen by Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys. Overall, 14% of staff — about 70 people — were laid off on Monday, the vast majority of them on the Max side.
That includes in Max Non-Fiction Originals, International, Acquisitions, Casting and previously reported Live-Action Family Originals, which are all being either scaled back significantly or essentially eliminated, leading to the departure of the bulk of the the staffs, led by Jennifer O’Connell EVP, Non-Fiction & Live-Action Family Originals for HBO Max; Jennifer Kim, SVP, International Originals for HBO Max; Michael Quigley, EVP of Content Acquisitions at HBO Max; and Linda Lowy, EVP Casting for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV.
The one place was expected to be hit, if you believed the rumors, was the Scripted Team, but that has remained virtually intact other than a few responsibility changes. One other change is that the comedy departments for HBO and HBO Max are being merged together, the idea being there are a lot of overlap between the two comedy departments, more so than between the two brands drama departments.
Maybe someone can take a look at the editorial department at DC Comics next.
In other streaming industry news, Disney has overtaken Netflix in subscribers. By the end of July Disney outnumbered Netflix’s subscribers, confirming they now have 221.1 million streaming members.
JustWatch took a look at their over 25 million monthly users to see how the Disney movie & TV show universe outperformed Netflix, and for the last six months the proportions have been changing dramatically, with Disney gaining 3% of the market share. At the same time, Netflix reached 27% in March, only to fall 3% by the end June.
Will the layoffs and belt tightening at HBO Max make them competitive again?