GOSSIP & RUMORS: Paramount CEO Bob Bakish of layoffs amid takeover talks
Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish on Thursday said the media company would undergo layoffs as it strives to become a leaner company that spends less.
Bakish said the entertainment industry has been confronted with a soft ad market, recent dual Hollywood strikes and a “volatile” macroeconomic environment, all while navigating the business’s transition from traditional movies and TV to streaming.
Paramount will look to manage costs it seeks to drive earnings, he wrote in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.
“As it has over the past few years, this does mean we will continue to reduce our workforce globally,” Bakish wrote in the memo. The company did not disclose how many jobs it would cut.
Overall, more than 21,000 workers have been let go in 76 tech companies in January, according to tracking website Layoffs.fyi.
The tech sector shed 168,032 jobs in 2023 and accounted for the highest number of layoffs across industries, according to a report by Challenger, Gray and Christmas earlier this month.
Bakish outlined the company’s strategic priorities for the year in the staff memo, even as he acknowledged the media company “remains a topic of speculation.”
“It’s no surprise that Paramount remains a topic of speculation,” Bakish wrote. “We’re a storied public company in a closely followed industry.”
Bakish did not comment further on possible deal talks, saying the best course of action for the company is to “concentrate on what we can control — execution.” The top priority, he wrote, is to drive earnings growth and manage costs.
Paramount will focus its resources on its “most powerful, resonant franchises, films and series,” and produce fewer local, international originals, Bakish said.
Paramount is home to such film franchises as “Top Gun” and “Mission: Impossible,” as well as the hit television show, “Yellowstone.”
The company will seek to wring the most profit out of these properties by distributing them across multiple platforms, including streaming, film, television and licensing, he said.
Bakish said in the memo that the company will continue to push toward profitability with its streaming business, and “lean even further” into large markets like the US, Canada, the U.K. and Australia, where the company has a strong presence and the US studio content “resonates best.”
The CEO said he will continue to encourage greater collaboration across teams, time zones and functions to drive better results.
“In many ways, 2024 will be the next great step in our transformation,” Bakish wrote.