Paramount laid off 25% of its domestic TV networks' staff and shut down MTV News on Tuesday as Paramount+ finalizes its merger with Showtime. Image courtesy of Paramount Plus
May 9 (UPI) -- Paramount laid off 25% of its domestic TV networks' staff and shut down MTV News on Tuesday as the company finalizes its merger of Paramount+ with Showtime.
Chris McCarthy, president and chief executive officer of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, sent a memo to employees, saying leaders had worked "to determine the optimal organization for the current and future needs of our business."
"As a result, we have made the very hard but necessary decision to reduce our domestic team by approximately 25%. Through the elimination of some units and by streamlining others, we will be able to reduce costs and create a more effective approach to our business as we move forward," McCarthy wrote in the memo.
Paramount also announced Tuesday it would shut down MTV News, which launched in the late 1980s, following years of downsizing.
In January, Paramount revealed its plan to fully integrate Showtime into Paramount+ across streaming and linear platforms later this year with the new network becoming "Paramount+ with Showtime" in the United States. The merger integrates Showtime with MTV Entertainment Studios and creates a networks division that combines nine separate teams into one portfolio group.
Parent company Paramount Global, which had about 24,500 employees as of the end of 2022, had warned there would be staff layoffs. About 10% of Showtime's workers were let go earlier this year after the merger was announced.
Last week, Paramount Global announced worse-than-expected first-quarter earnings due to higher streaming investments and an 11% drop in TV ad revenue. The 11% drop follows a 7% drop for the fourth quarter of 2022. The company also announced a dividend cut to preserve cash.
While Paramount+ credited a bump in new subscriber growth to hits including "Yellowstone," "1883," "Tulsa King," "George & Tammy" and "Yellowjackets," McCarthy blamed the layoffs on "pressure from broader economic headwinds like many of our peers."
Of those peers, Disney is currently cutting 7,000 positions, while Warner Bros. Discovery recently completed a series of layoffs.
Paramount's memo Tuesday informed workers that those whose jobs have been cut would be alerted immediately.
"Today we will notify employees whose positions are being impacted with leaders communicating the news directly to those teams/or individuals. Those meetings will be followed by individual 1:1s with our HR partners," McCarthy said.
"I realize these decisions will be very hard for everyone, most of all, those who will be leaving. It's not something we take lightly," McCarthy added.
"To those impacted, we deeply appreciate the passion and creativity you have brought every day. I want to thank you for your many contributions."