EXCLUSIVE: The Ink Factory, producer of Golden Globe-winning series The Night Manager and Stephen Merchant feature Fighting With My Family, has made job cuts as it refocuses on development following the coronavirus pandemic and its new partnership with Endeavour Content.
Deadline understands that the UK production company, which sold a minority stake to Endeavour in February, has made five redundancies this year in marketing, finance and production roles, which was roughly 18% of the 27 staff it employed at the end of 2019. Remaining employees took a pay cut during the crisis.
It follows The Ink Factory’s revenue plummeting 92% to $4.9M last year, down from $62.5M in 2018. According to The Little Drummer Girl’s 2019 earnings, its pre-tax loss also widened, falling from $2.6M in 2018 to $6.7M last year.
In a statement, The Ink Factory co-CEO Simon Cornwell said: “In common with almost every independent studio, we see significant year-to-year volatility in revenues depending on the volume and timing of shows and features delivered in any given year, and of course our plans for 2020 have been heavily impacted by the extended production hiatus.”
He added that the company had “rebalanced” its team with a greater focus on development. Efforts to double down on development have seen it hire American Animals producer Katherine Butler to the newly-created role of creative director, while former BBC Studios executive Maggie Boden joined in April as director of development. Cornwell said that the producer is also “recruiting for a number of new roles as we build the creative team.”
The hires come with the support of Endeavour and 127 Wall Productions, which has a recently-extended financing partnership with The Ink Factory. The 127 Wall funding arrangement, which runs until 2024, encompasses development support and co-financing of TV and film projects.
The Ink Factory said in its annual report that it did not have anything in production during the hiatus, nor will it have anything shooting “in the next few months.” It noted, however, that issues with insurance (which have now been soothed by a government-backed $650M emergency fund) have made it “difficult” to get projects greenlit.
Although not necessarily linked to the COVID-19 disruption, widely-mooted plans for a second season of John Le Carré adaptation The Night Manager are yet to materialize after years of development with a writing team that included spy author Charles Cumming and Matthew Orton.