EXCLUSIVE: Some breaking news. We’ve just heard from eOne staff that there will be a ten percent cut in the film and TV headcount at the Hasbro-owned mini-major.
A memo was just sent out to all staff by Steve Bertram, President, Film & TV, explaining the decision. You can read the memo in full below. We’ve reached out to eOne for comment.
The company employs around 1200 people worldwide across all divisions. Film and TV accounts for around 30-50% so by our calculation the cuts will likely impact around 50-60 staff worldwide.
This has been the flow of traffic at the traditional film and TV studios over the last couple of years as the market evolves and viewing habits change. The pandemic has only hastened that change and made things harder for the majors and mini-majors which have seen production decrease and traditional modes of film distribution grind to a halt over the last 12 months.
We revealed last fall that eOne would be winding down its German theatrical operation following contractions to film teams in other markets as third party acquisitions diminish.
Cuts have been widespread across the traditional studios. Lionsgate announced a similar move last fall. Only today, we revealed that Disney will be shuttering its Blue Sky Studios operation.
Yesterday Hasbro, which acquired eOne for $3.8BN one year ago, announced its Q4 and full year 2020 earnings, though releases weren’t sent out to the trades as they usually would be. The results were steady, driven largely off the toys and board games. In Q4, net revenues increased 4% to $1.72BN, while revenues were up a healthy 20% in TV/Film/Entertainment. However, for the full year 2020, net revenues decreased 8% to $5.47BN. Hasbro earned $1.27 per share, topping estimates of $1.14.
In a post-earnings call, the company was upbeat about film and TV prospects and said it will invest “between $675 million and $750 million on content across scripted and unscripted live action, animated TV and film in 2021, up from $439 million last year”.
Toy-maker Hasbro has a treasure chest of potential franchises to tap into for film and TV and has announced new projects based on Dungeons and Dragons, My Little Pony, Power Rangers and board game Risk, among others. It also has eOne’s flagship kids brands Peppa Pig and PJ Masks to work with. G.I. Joe, Action Man and Transformers are among its other franchise properties.
eOne last year attracted former HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo who joined as President, Global Television. But there have also been senior outgoings such as Chief Strategy Officer Peter Micelli and Mark Gordon who segued to a production deal.
The studio’s film and TV highlights in recent years have included 1917 and Oscar-winner Spotlight on the big screen and small screen productions or licensing deals for the likes of Hell On Wheels, Fear The Walking Dead, The Rookie, Halt And Catch Fire and Designated Survivor.
Here is the internal memo sent out Tuesday by Bertram:
Over the past several years, we have shared with you our strategy to shift our Film and Television business towards greater control and creative stewardship of high-quality IP. This shift was in direct response to the significant disruption the traditional studio model was experiencing as the technology giants invested heavily in their platforms and the creation of original content. And the effects of the pandemic have certainly accelerated these seismic changes taking hold across our industry.
As a truly platform-agnostic business, we are well-positioned to thrive in the new marketplace, especially with Hasbro’s iconic brands. But, in evolving with the changing industry dynamics as we have, we must evolve the focus and structure of our organization around the world.
To that end, I’m deeply saddened to share with you that we have said goodbye to a number of our colleagues today and have commenced conversations with others about possible changes to their roles. These team members have delivered outstanding work and demonstrated a staunch devotion to eOne throughout their respective tenures and we are immensely grateful to them all. I want to recognize their vital contribution to our business and thank each of them for their commitment and countless successes.
The roles affected by this reorganization represent 10% of our film and television workforce. For employees in impacted roles, we are thinking critically about other possible opportunities across the business.
To be clear, our reorganization is not a result of poor business performance during the pandemic; the industry has been shifting for a long time with consolidation around the new global platforms. While we prolonged taking this action for as long as we could as a result of the difficult global climate, it is more important than ever that our organizational structure reflects the needs of the business. And, with the promising creative pipeline across Film and Television in front of us and pandemic recovery hopefully on the horizon, it’s essential that we are set up to take on the opportunities ahead.
We are today focused on supporting our impacted colleagues and offering to departing team members support through severance and healthcare packages, in addition to professional services and assistance programs. Impacted team members have been notified and have received more details on a personal basis. To those departing today and over the next few weeks, I want to thank each of you for your contributions to eOne and offer both my assistance and that of our senior leaders as you think about the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.
A number of business leaders will be meeting with their teams to share more information about our structure and vision for the future.
While days like today are very difficult, I continue to be incredibly optimistic about the future of our business – and I’m looking forward to delivering on our goals together.
All my best,