Disney Studios Undergoes New Round of Staff Cuts

Fox Studios - Wikimedia Commons - H 2017
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Jobs will be lost at both the Disney and Fox studios.

Disney was laying off studio employees on Wednesday as the company seeks to conserve money after its $71.3 billion partial merger with 21st Century Fox.

Disney had no comment on the move, though a person familiar with the situation confirmed that jobs will be lost at both the Disney and Fox studios.

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently said that while 20th Century Fox will continue making movies under that storied brand, the output would be cut to roughly six per year.

Iger is also dealing with redundancies caused by the Fox merger and about $57 billion in debt.

Plus, the company will likely be shelling out another $9 billion to purchase Comcast's stake in Hulu. Disney said Tuesday it has taken operational control of Hulu, as it already owns two-thirds of the streamer, and Comcast can require Disney to purchase its share as early as January 2024 at a price that would value the entire entity at $27.5 billion.

Disney is also spending billions to create its Netflix competitor, dubbed Disney+ and due Nov. 12, and analysts expect the product to lose about $2.9 billion this year and another $4.3 billion in 2020.

The conglomerate, which sports a $242 billion market cap on Wall Street, is also expected to spend some $24 billion over the next five years in upgrades on cruise ships and theme parks, including areas dedicated to Marvel superheroes, Star Wars and the Avatar film franchise.

Like the entire legacy TV industry, Disney is also contending with cord cutting as about 2 percent of cable and satellite customers each year ditch their services and sign up exclusively with various streamers. Sports network ESPN, for example, has been losing subscribers for years and in Disney's most recent fiscal year it reported a 3 percent decline in operating income at its Media Networks segment.

The Disney layoffs appear to be widespread across the studios and comes two months after the company's first round of layoffs in its post-Fox iteration.

Meanwhile, over at Fox Corporation, which consists of Fox News Channel, the broadcast network and other assets Disney did not purchase, things have been less dire for employees. Chief executive Lachlan Murdoch, for example, doled out from $1,000-$3,000 in free stock to rank-and-file employees after the Disney transaction.