Exclusive: Viacom Plans New Round of Layoffs

February 5, 2018
Updated 3mo ago

Viacom is planning a significant round of layoffs this week, Cheddar has learned.

The exact number of cuts is unclear, but the layoffs will affect dozens of employees, according to people familiar with the matter. The media conglomerate behind Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon will make cuts mostly in its sales and marketing divisions, one person said.

A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment when reached by Cheddar on Monday. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said the company was eyeing ways to cut costs during its last earnings call in November.

In a memo shared with Viacom employees on Tuesday, Bakish confirmed the layoffs and said that while they "didn't impact a large percentage of our workforce, I know they were difficult nonetheless."

He added that the cuts were intended to "create a more agile and efficient organization that can thrive in a time of constant change," according to a copy of the memo seen by Cheddar.

"I want us to be an organization that is energized by reinventing this business, and has the capability and capacity to constantly transform," said Bakish. "Let’s continually push ourselves to discover what’s new, and what’s next. Let’s get out of our silos and learn from each other, and create the new faster. Let’s embrace change and possibility."

Viacom last cut about 20 employees as part of a reorganizing effort in September 2017. The company has reportedly been in recent talks with CBS about a potential re-merger after splitting a decade ago. A recent report from Variety said that Viacom is close to acquiring VidCon, a popular media and entertainment conference business in California.

Viacom is set to report its earnings for the quarter ending December 31, 2017 on Thursday, February 8.

Updated on February 6 with quotes from internal Viacom memo confirming the layoffs.

Reporting by Alex Heath.