Disney begins job cuts but scale could be less than expected

In the latest quarter, Disney’s cable networks revenues fell 3% to $4.1 billion. (Pixabay)

The Walt Disney Company has reportedly begun cutting jobs across its different entertainment divisions, but the scale of the layoffs may not be as large as previously expected.

Variety cites an unnamed source who says Disney began on Thursday to give notice to affected employees, but the amount of staff reduction and overall cuts will be “significantly lower” than the previously announced 10%.

In August, the Wall Street Journal said that Disney would look to cut up to 300 jobs as part of an effort to cut 10% in annual costs from Disney’s entertainment division. The bulk of those cuts were expected to happen at the ABC broadcast network, the ABC television production studio, ABC News and ABC’s local affiliate stations.

The cuts will impact Disney cable networks including Disney Channel, DisneyXD, Disney Junior, and Freeform, but Variety reports that the effects on production and programming will be minimal.

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The cuts across Disney’s entertainment division are occurring after ESPN recently also resolved to cut jobs and costs after continuing struggles with evaporating viewership. Earlier this year, ESPN finished a round of layoffs while also letting go of on-air talent like longtime NFL analyst John Clayton.

Those cuts came before Nielsen numbers showed that ESPN lost 3.8% of its subscribers in May 2017, according to the New York Post. That loss rate was well ahead of the average 2.9% subscriber drop for cable channels during the month. In September, Business Insider compiled Nielsen numbers showing that ESPN had dropped about 13 million subscribers in the past six years.

In the latest quarter, Disney’s cable networks revenues fell 3% to $4.1 billion and operating income fell 23% to $1.5 billion. Disney put the lower operating income on ESPN, which was impacted by higher programming costs, lower advertising revenue and severance and contract termination costs.