Although the upcoming DC Comics film slate was the headline-grabbing news from this morning’s Time Warner investor presentation, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara also announced the studio is seeking to reduce costs by $200 million annually as part of company-wide streamlining effort. That’s about double what some reports indicated ahead of today’s meeting.
How much of that will be a result of layoffs has yet to be revealed, but Variety maintains Warner Bros. is expected to cut between 900 and 1,000 jobs, or about 10 percent of its worldwide workforce.
Fellow Time Warner division Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and TNT, announced last week that it will eliminate about 1,475 jobs — again, equal to about 10 percent of its workforce. About 300 of those will come from CNN Worldwide. According to The Hollywood Reporter, CNN CEO Jeff Zucker could find just 130 employees willing to accept voluntary buyouts, meaning the rest of the cuts will come through layoffs.
Tsujihara has ordered cuts at every level and in every department across the studio, except for film and television production. The $200 million annual savings will be used to fund the ambitious TV and movie slate that includes 10 DC films — from Justice League to Wonder Woman to Cyborg — J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series, and more LEGO offerings.
As we’ve noted before, the popular belief is that DC could be spared layoffs by simply not filling some of the positions left vacant when it completes the move from New York City to Burbank, California, in the spring.
The belt-tightening is part of a long-term growth strategy devised more than a year ago but apparently accelerated by Rupert Murdoch’s rejected $80 billion bid in August for Time Warner.
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