Was axing projects and firing over 200 employees worth it for Warner Bros. Discovery?
Warner Bros. Discovery has been making a lot of moves these past few months in an attempt to settle its massive debt of $55 billion. CEO David Zaslav decided that the best plan of attack would not be driving customers to the company’s streaming platform, but axing movies and TV programs that were already made and in development.
An SEC filing on Monday announced that Warner Bros. Discovery had written off between $2 billion and $2.5 billion worth of content during the July-September quarter.
One of the most high-profile cuts of the last quarter was the HBO Max film Batgirl, which cost roughly $80 million and was nearly completed before it was ultimately shelved. Although it wasn’t a popular move within the industry, WBD continued to chop away by removing 68 HBO Max original titles and canceling and removing shows made mostly by underrepresented voices in filmmaking.
Media isn’t the only place where WBD made cuts.
The company laid off 125 from its TV group earlier this month, roughly 100 employees in its ad-sales group, and another 70 from its HBO and HBO Max staff back in August.
IndieWire reports that Warner Bros. Discovery’s army of accountants said the “content impairments and development write-offs” are part of a greater “pre-tax restructuring charges” that would be recognized in its fiscal third quarter. The total write-offs culminate in a total between $3.2 billion and $4.3 billion.
The extra $2 billion in write-offs comes from other restructuring costs, like the severance packages for the workers who were laid off, the severance of creative workshops, and the consolidation of offices and other facilities.
“While the company’s restructuring efforts are ongoing, including the strategic analysis of content programming which could result in additional impairments above the estimate provided above, the restructuring initiatives are expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2024,” WBD added in its filing.
With roughly $50 billion more to erase, more TV series and movies could be written off in the upcoming quarter.
As for the future of the WBD series and productions, Zaslav has made it clear that he doesn’t want to invest in anything that isn't for Middle America or the theater.
Unfortunately, WBD’s efforts to save the company from bankruptcy haven’t helped its struggling stock.
What is Zaslav willing to do to save his company? He has made it obvious that he won’t create new content or find creative ways to drive subscriber numbers or audience numbers up with lower-budget projects.
Let us know what you think about the issue in the comments below.
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Just another chapter in the demise of America. This company doesn't want to make movies, or entertain people. They're just searching for the perfect AI-engineered entertainment algorithm to support one colossal self-perpetuating franchise monolith -- that's neither game, nor film, nor nothing.
October 25, 2022 at 5:00PM