PARAMOUNT Global is letting go of about 800 staffers days after the company’s coverage of the Super Bowl set a record for the most-watched programme in US television history, according to people familiar with the matter.
The owner of CBS, Nickelodeon and other channels is trying to boost profits at a time when viewers are cancelling cable and satellite TV packages in favour of streaming services like Netflix.
Paramount+, the company’s own online TV service, is not profitable. Attendance at cinemas has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, putting pressure on the company’s namesake film studio as well.
In an internal memo to employees on Tuesday (Feb 13), chief executive officer Bob Bakish said the company will inform impacted employees in the US by the end of the day, while notifications to staff members outside the US will “occur over time”.
The cuts at Paramount were widely expected and were flagged by Bakish in a note to staff last month. He has been restructuring the company, merging its Showtime cable network with its streaming operation and cutting back on efforts to launch independent streaming services overseas. The company has also been selling assets such as its Simon & Schuster book publishing arm to reduce debt.
Paramount chair Shari Redstone is currently weighing options that could include a sale of her family’s controlling stake in the business to independent film and TV producer David Ellison. Media mogul Byron Allen has also made an offer for the entire company and has begun a dialogue with the board. BLOOMBERG