Roku Cutting 200 Employee Positions Costing $31 Million in Severance Expense

Roku Nov. 17 disclosed it is eliminating 200 employee positions worldwide that will cost the company an estimated $31 million in severance charges as it attempts to trim operating expenses by 5% due to ongoing economic conditions. The streaming video device founder and AVOD co-pioneer announced the move in a regulatory filing.

Roku expects that the majority of the restructuring charges will be incurred in the current fourth quarter (ending Dec. 31) and that the implementation of the layoffs, including cash payments, will be largely completed by the end of the first quarter that ends March 31, 2023.

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The San Jose, Calif.-based company said that the job cuts are subject to legal requirements that vary by jurisdiction, which may extend the process beyond the fourth quarter in certain cases.

Roku, which ended 2021 with 3,000 employees in 13 countries, reported a net loss of $122.1 million on revenue of $761.3 million in the most-recent fiscal period, compared with a net income of $68.8 million on revenue of $679.9 million during the previous-year period.

Netflix Lays Off Another 300 Employees

Netflix has reportedly laid off another 300 employees June 23, on top of the 150 staffers let go in May. The service didn’t outline in which departments the cuts were made.

The streaming behemoth, which employs about 11,000 people worldwide, has been downsizing following a disappointing fiscal quarter that saw the service lose a net 200,000 subscribers. Netflix had projected a subscriber gain of about 2.5 million.

“Today we sadly let go of around 300 employees,” Netflix said in a statement. “While we continue to invest significantly in the business, we made these adjustments so that our costs are growing in line with our slower revenue growth. We are so grateful for everything they have done for Netflix and are working hard to support them through this difficult transition.”

Co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who was at the Cannes Lions advertising summit in France, didn’t comment on the layoffs. He did mention that as a Wall Street hero for years, especially during the pandemic when it gained 28 million subs, Netflix takes the good with the bad.

“We’ve gotten through experiences where the market disconnects from core business and you have to prove the thesis still works, and is going to work long-term,” Sarandos said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world today, and if they get anything that rocks the foundation of the narrative, they get nervous.”

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Netflix Lays Off 150 Mostly U.S.-Based Employees

Netflix May 17 confirmed it has laid off 150 employees, less than 2% of its 11,000 global work force. The subscription streaming behemoth said the staffing cuts included mostly U.S.-based employees.

“These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues,” Netflix representative said in an email. “We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition. A number of agency contractors have also been impacted by the news announced this morning.  We are grateful for their contributions to Netflix.”

The cuts come following a fiscal first quarter that saw Netflix a 200,000 net sub loss rather than a projected 2.5 million net gain. The sub growth downturn, which presages a projected two million sub loss in the current quarter, saw Netflix stock valuation plummet more than 50%.

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Netflix Lays Off Staffers at ‘Tudum’ Fan Website

Netflix has begun downsizing staffers at its fan website Tudum, which launched last September featuring ancillary articles about the streamer’s original series and movies. The site had hired entertainment reporters from Condé Nast and Time, among other publication companies.

Netflix, in a media statement, said Tudum (which refers to the streamer’s signature opening sound) remains a company priority, while making no official comment about staffing cuts. Following a disappointing first quarter result that saw the streamer lose 200,000 subs and $53 billion in market valuation, the company is reacting internally.

Regardless, some laid off personnel let their feeling be known on social media.

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Disney to Furlough Non-Essential Employees Beginning April 19

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. will start furloughing non-essential U.S. employees April 19, the company announced.

Disney committed to full pay and benefits for all employees through April 18.

“With no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time,” a Disney representative said in a statement.

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Furloughed workers will remain Disney employees through the furlough period and will receive full healthcare benefits with Disney will paying the cost of premiums.

Disney did not report the number of employees that would be affected.

GameStop Lays Off 50 Regional Managers

GameStop has reportedly laid off 50 mid-level employees as it grapples with changing distribution and consumer consumption of video games.

The world’s largest video game retailer, in a leaked email posted on Twitter citing ongoing companywide restructuring, said the cuts “are not easy” but necessary to enable investment in “revenue-driving” initiatives.

“Unfortunately, there are more than 50 field leaders who have been impacted and will be leaving the GameStop team,” GameStop said in the email. “This includes regional, district HR [human resources], and LP [loss prevention] leaders. These leaders will be missed and we wish them success in their future endeavors.”

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New CEO George Sherman has pledged to shake up the status quo in an effort to transform the retailer, which posted a 75% drop in income in its most-recent fiscal period — driven in part by a 35% drop in console sales. Revenue fell 13.3% to $1.54 billion.

Specifically, Sherman wants to focus on the 20% of SKUs that drive 80% of our business. Notable among those performing SKUs: Collectables. The segment saw sales increase 10.5% to $157.3 million, with continued growth of trend items in both domestic and international stores.

“We’ll continue to get better at that piece of the business through inventory optimization and expand the assortment of exclusive products that our customers desire,” Sherman said on the June fiscal call.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Marketing Executive James Finn Exiting

James Finn, co-head of marketing at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, is exiting the studio after nearly 20 years.

Fox, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Co. for $71.3 billion, has been streamlining staff, including executives, as a result of the March 2019 merger. So far there have been three rounds of layoffs; departing executives in the first round, which happened immediately following the closure of the acquisition, included Mike Dunn, the longtime home entertainment president.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Finn had been let go or chose to depart on his own. Finn was known for his strong relationships with the media, innovative approach to marketing and passion for all things high-tech, particularly in the areas of virtual reality and augmented reality.

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In a parting e-mail sent to colleagues and the media obtained by Media Play News, Finn wrote, “For nearly 20 years I’ve called Fox my home, and I’ve read many of these ‘peace out’ emails. While some have been inspiring, sweet, funny and kind, nearly all of them have been too long. So I’ll try to break that trend. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in every step of the way. Thank you to my colleagues, my mentors, my family, my friends and my team for making it so much fun.”

Finn, known for his sense of humor, in a postscript quipped, “I intended to keep it shorter but I had already hit the send button before I could edit it down.”

Last year, Finn was selected as one of Media Play News‘ digital drivers. “Finn works across two distinct business units at 20th Century Fox,” the article noted. “As co-head of marketing for home entertainment, he leads marketing communications strategies in the rapidly developing digital and disc transactional businesses. As the head of marketing for FoxNext, he oversees marketing across interactive and immersive experiences and games.”

Finn began his 20th Century Fox career in Oct. 2000 as a publicist in New York, where according to his LinkedIn profile he “leveraged expansive media relations to secure widespread press coverage for noteworthy films, including Cast Away, Moulin Rouge, Ice Age, Minority Report, X2, The Day After Tomorrow, I, Robot, and Master and Commander.”

In June 2003, he was named VP, national publicity, for Fox Searchlight Pictures, and in August 2009 he moved west to California to succeed Steve Feldstein as SVP, corporate and marketing communications, at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In April 2013 he was promoted to EVP and co-head of marketing for both 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and the Fox Innovation Lab.

Finn assumed additional duties, as EVP and head of marketing at FoxNext, in May 2017.

Prior to 20th Century Fox, he worked at Miramax and NBC News, both in New York.

Finn holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.