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Disney is one of the biggest names in entertainment, and we wouldn't have the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars franchise (which will soon get even bigger) as they are today if not for the folks at Disney. Unfortunately for some of those folks, Disney is looking to lay off a significant number of employees in the ABC Television Group. Disney is reportedly look to cut the budget for ABC TV, and hundreds of people are likely to lose their jobs later this month.
People familiar with Disney's budget reduction have reported that staff reductions and restructurings are in store for the ABC broadcast network and its TV production studio, as well as ABC News and local TV stations. According to The Wall Street Journal, sources have indicated that cable networks Freeform and Disney Channel will likely be affected as well. The specifics of the cuts will be revealed by the end of Disney's current fiscal year, which happens to be at the end of September.
The number of jobs to be cut may be as high as 300, which should reduce costs at ABC Television by 10%. The workforce at Disney/ABC TV is currently comprised of around 10,000 people; the cuts will take place through a mix of attrition and layoffs. The news of the upcoming changes comes after an statement from Disney/ABC TV Group president Ben Sherwood that he would be able to cut a whopping $300 million in current costs, with the idea that the staff should be able to adapt to accomplish more with less.
While all of these cuts to the workforce obviously come as bad news for Disney/ABC TV employees, there's a pretty understandable reason why they have to happen. ABC and its cable channels haven't had much luck in premiering new smash hits on the small screen, and ABC was down 11% in the valuable 18-49 age demographic. Advertisers are less likely to invest in a network with lower demo ratings than can be found elsewhere. Even Disney and Freeform experienced drops in ratings and viewership. Throw in the fact that ABC came in third in overall network viewership last season behind CBS and NBC, and changes were bound to be made as Disney/ABC heads into a new TV season.
The overall revenue numbers are even more discouraging. Revenue for ABC, ABC studios, and local ABC stations dropped a massive 22% in the period of nine months that ended back in June. Advertising revenue is down, and programming costs have risen. That said, payments from satellite and cable outlets as well as sales to Netflix have helped offset some of the losses. For the sake of the Disney/ABC TV workforce, we have to hope that revenue ticks back up in the not-too-distant future. We can only wait and see. Perhaps the upcoming exclusive Disney streaming service will have an impact.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and check out our fall TV premiere schedule to discover when all the biggest shows will return to ABC and the other outlets in the coming weeks.