A recent exclusive from Variety reports that the media conglomerate ViacomCBS is currently preparing for two rounds of layoffs within the company. The first round of cuts could happen as early as February 26th and affect up to one hundred employees.
News of these layoffs comes just a few months after the merger between Viacom and CBS. The ViacomCBS merger was a huge event within the media industry; even before the merger, Viacom was the largest cable-channel group in the United States. The two companies initially tried to merge in 2016, but efforts for that merger were dropped.
The 2019 merger was arguably made possible due to the current U.S. administration’s tendency to allow major media company mergers, such as Disney’s acquisition of Fox or AT&T’s acquisition of WarnerMedia. Also notable is the fact that the Justice Department recently announced it would be repealing the Paramount Decree of 1948, which would significantly loosen antitrust regulations on the film and television industry.
The first wave of layoffs at ViacomCBS will reportedly come just six days after the company is set to issue its quarterly earning report. Affected areas will be those that have significant overlap between CBS and Viacom, specifically the television departments, as well as marketing, distribution, and consumer products. Legacy CBS cable television operations are also expected to be affected, while the Paramount film and television studios and CBS Interactive are less likely to be affected by these cuts.
While unfortunate, these cuts were not unexpected; when ViacomCBS released their financial details in November, they also reported that the merger would give the company $500 million in cost savings. The Variety report states that some sources have already confirmed that their positions have been eliminated within ViacomCBS. An earlier report also confirms that ViacomCBS has already cut a significant portion of its diversity and inclusion department.