Maker Studios will be hit by layoffs of roughly 80 employees today at parent company Disney following a staffing overlap that occurred when the digital network was integrated within the Content And Media division of Disney’s Consumer Products And Interactive Media (DCPI) arm in December.
At the same time, Maker is set to reduce the total number of channels signed to its multi-channel network to under 1,000, according to sources familiar with the situation — although it is unclear what kinds of creators are set to remain. Affected talent will reportedly be notified in coming days and weeks. Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter reported Maker was set to slash its creator network of thousands to just 300 amid another round of employee layoffs.
While Maker was folded last year into the DCPI division — which helms Disney’s physical and digital products like clothing, toys, apps, and video content — it was integrated into DCPI’s Content And Media division in December. That division has since been renamed Publishing And Digital Media.
The integration of Maker into DCPI’s Publishing And Digital Media division, and Maker’s newly-streamlined network, could enable a more holistic integration of Maker creators into Disney’s overarching digital media business, which is reported to have been an ongoing dilemma. The company’s social media channels and digital properties apart from Maker — including editorial brand Oh My Disney and Babble, a lifestyle destination for moms — reportedly reach a total of 1.5 billion people, and count more than 250 million monthly viewers.
“We’re building a digital media network of Disney and non-Disney content for kids and millennials on the platforms they use every day,” Andrew Sugerman, DCPI’s EVP of publishing and digital media, told Tubefilter in a statement. “For advertisers, this network offers mobile, video, short-form content, micro-content, and influencers, all at scale.”
Going forward, for instance, in order to expand its digital media offering for kids and millennials, Disney could pull in Maker creators to host video shows for Oh My Disney, which publishes stories like Quiz: Which Disney Pixar Date Should You Go On? and also counts hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Maker Studios laid off some 30 employees last July in what it described at the time as a strategic adjustment. And in December, Courtney Holt — who succeeded Maker CEO Ynon Kreiz in 2015 after Kreiz left the company following Maker’s less-than-expected $675 million acquisition by Disney — departed his role as Maker’s chief to take on a new role within the parent company.
The layoffs and network streamlining also arrive as Maker just dropped its largest star, Felix ‘PewDiePie Kjellberg’, who is YouTube’s most-subscribed creator by a mile, and who was let go from the network after being embroiled in a massive controversy for making anti-Semitic jokes.