EXCLUSIVE: At least 20 to 40 rank and file employees across all divisions of Paramount Pictures have been laid off, we’ve learned. The layoffs at the Melrose Ave. studio come as part of Viacom’s restructuring that has also hit its MTV Networks and others. As much as 12% of MTV’s staff were affected, as reported yesterday. Sister network VH1 also was hit with pink slips throughout marketing, promotion, design and public relations. TV Land also has been affected.
“The personnel changes made today are part of Viacom’s previously announced restructuring effort,” said a spokesperson for the studio. “These changes are designed to realign resources and create efficiencies in line with the evolving business environment.”
Paramount isn’t the only part of Viacom hit by cuts today as staff at kids-friendly Nickelodeon also were informed. “As announced, we are in the process of restructuring, and there will be employees leaving the company as a result,” a Nickelodeon spokesperson said Wednesday. “We are so grateful for the contributions they have made to Viacom.”
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told investors at Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference earlier this week that the layoffs and restructuring initiatives should save about $250 million a year. Most of the cutbacks, he said, “will be largely done by the end of the month.” He described 2015 as “a transitional year.”
In addition to the personnel changes, Viacom plans to develop more original shows and abandon programming that was acquired years ago, saying it doesn’t work in the current business model that has seen Netflix and Amazon enter the market.