Hollywood sign

Source: Wikipedia / Thomas Wolf

Hollywood sign

Hollywood’s latest wave of lay-offs has brought staff reductions to Lionsgate and Disney as the pandemic continues to ravage the industry.

Ahead of a quarterly earnings call on Thursday (November 5), it emerged that Lionsgate motion picture group is to lay off around 15% of employees in a move that impacts the division but no other area of the company.

Meanwhile Screen understands a number of staff at Disney’s studio division and six individuals from Searchlight Pictures are being let go.

The latest culls are part of ongoing consolidation that has been accelerated by the virus.

While streaming platforms have by and large prospered, executives in Hollywood’s traditional studio structure have realigned their operations to accommodate shifting consumer habits.

Like other studios, both Disney and Lionsgate have postponed theatrical releases and pushed some titles onto VoD.

An internal memo from Lionsgate motion picture group chairman Joe Drake appears below.

Dear Colleagues:

This past May we began the process of reimagining the Motion Picture Group, not only to address this moment of extraordinary change, but to position the group to operate and grow in whatever environment we find ourselves in. As we challenged each of you to help us rethink our business, one thing became clear: while the value and power of the stories we tell are stronger than ever, the significant change we are experiencing in the consumer and distribution landscape is not temporary or slowing down.

While our business remains fundamentally strong, we are not immune to the ongoing COVID crisis that is impacting us like so many other studios. These demands on our business necessitate that we accelerate changes to our own operations and strategic plan. And today, in order to meet the challenges and opportunities in front of us, we begin the implementation of a reorganization of the Motion Picture Group around four globally integrated verticals. This means that individuals across the MPG will be impacted as groups are being combined, and new roles have been defined or eliminated as part of this process.

As a leader whose first priority is “A Best Place to Work”, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you as part of the changes to our operational structure, we will be saying goodbye to a number of our colleagues, friends and co-workers today. These decisions are not a reflection of their immense talent, the quality of their work or the meaningful contributions they have made at our company.

We recognize that this is a challenging moment in our industry, and to provide as much support as we can to those colleagues leaving us, we are making enhancements to our separation policy in a number of areas including healthcare, job support and severance.

Impacted employees will learn more as Human Resources communicates the details, but I can share that the company will be providing a minimum of 9 months of healthcare coverage through COBRA regardless of how long you have been employed at Lionsgate, as well as job placement support through Career Minds placement service for as long as it takes to find new employment. And because we know firsthand how outstanding every single one of you are, we are setting up a program for affected employees to have priority introductions to positions as they open up across other areas of Lionsgate and STARZ.

In the next hour, every impacted employee will receive a calendar invite from a senior leader and our HR team where they will begin the transition process. In that meeting they will outline the next steps, and help answer any questions you have.

And while our energy today will be focused primarily on supporting our colleagues that are leaving, for those remaining with us, leadership will be reaching out to you to touch base, and to assure you that the lines of communication are open. Additionally, your Vertical lead will be scheduling a short meeting with your group for tomorrow morning to walk through a schedule of meetings and town halls that will happen over the next week. These subsequent meetings are designed to create transparency and detail around the new structure, share our strategic vision for the future, and answer the questions I am sure you will have.

To those colleagues who are leaving, we are enormously grateful to each and every one of you. You provided this company with your voice, your ideas and a commitment to excellence that made a difference every day. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if I can help answer any questions or if I can be of service as you decide where to direct your talents next.

Joe