Bob Iger, Disney

UPDATE June 1 - According to Variety, Disney has now completed its third round of job cuts bringing the total to the proposed 7,000 which was outlined by Iger back in February.

These cuts have mostly come from the media division and the impact on the Parks division has been minimal. It is reported that Disney has plans to "eliminate more roles internationally over a period of time," but we don't have further details of potential numbers or a timeline for this. 

Bob Iger, Disney
Image: Disney

The total 7,000 layoffs, represent 3.2% of Disney’s total 220,000 headcount worldwide as of Oct. 1, 2022. These cuts are part of Disney’s efforts to achieve approximately $5.5 billion in cost savings. To achieve this reduction, $2.5 billion is expected to come from “non-content costs” hence the 7,000 layoffs so far. Disney is aiming for an annual reduction of $3 billion in non-sports content costs which is expected to be completed over the next few years.

At least Disney employees can rest easier for now as this third and last wave of cuts is now complete. We will update you on further news regarding cost saving measures on our news and Facebook page.

May 24 - According to Deadline, the third round of cuts are being made this week totalling an expected 2,500 Disney employees. TV took a large hit in the second round so it looks like this division will be mostly untouched this time. 

From the report it seems that there is not a specific division being targeted and the 2,500 job cuts will be from a range of divisions and if there can be any good news from this, Parks and Division which includes the theme parks does not expect to be affected.

Character meet and greet, Disney
Image: Disney

April 27 - According to Deadline, along with the expected job cuts in the TV division including the dissolving of the Digital content division 20th Digital Studio, led by EVP David Worthen Brooks, we see the official fan club for the Walt Disney Co, D23 hit by layoffs.

It appears that a quarter or more of the staff have been affected and there is speculation that the division may be restructured all together. D23 was founded in 2009 and is well known amongst Disney fans for its biennial D23 Expo with the next one planned for September this year. We assume at least for now that this will not affect those Disney fans who are members of D23 who benefit from exclusive discounts and offers. We will keep you posted on this.

D23 Fan Club, Disney
Image: Disney

April 25 - According to Variety, the second round of Disney job cuts begins this week. This second wave is set to bring the total to approximately 4,000 lay offs with the third and final wave scheduled to hit just before the summer to complete the 7,000 total Iger announced back in February. 

Those Disney employees affected will be notified through Thursday. Disney Entertainment is rumored to be the worst hit this time round with layoffs being seen across ESPN, ABC, Hulu, FX, Disney Channel, Freeform and the studio divisions, among others.

Co-chairman of Disney Entertainment Alan Bergman and Dana Walden said, “These are hard decisions and not ones we take lightly – but every decision has been made with considerable thought, and we are doing everything we can to make sure this process is conducted with respect and compassion,”

We heard back in November when Disney announced that Bob Iger would replace Bob Chapek as CEO of the Walt Disney Company that restructuring was on its way. During the Q1 2023 earnings call in February which reported a $8.7 billion revenue for Disney Parks & Resorts during the first fiscal quarter of 2023, up 21% from last quarter, Iger announces that as part of the restructuring Disney will cut 7,000 jobs.

The first round of staff cuts were made at the end of March in the week beginning March 27 and the last is set to hit just before the summer begins.

According to Deadline, the first round "involves a consolidation of production operations across Disney TV Studios, Hulu, Freeform and FX under Carol Turner and the shutdown of the studio operation’s Creative Acquisitions department."

Iger has made no attempt to hide from the fact that cost cutting is needed and as part of this the 7,000 staff reductions will be made in the efforts to reach $5.5 billion in overall cost savings. It was expected that these cuts would be made across all three divisions of the company.

Now the initial news of staff reductions understandably led to uproar amongst Disney Cast Members and fans. However, according to a tweet in February from reporter Scott Gustin, although these job cuts will include the Parks, Experience and Products section of the company, it looks like they are not expected in frontline operations roles, meaning Cast Members.

This will come as very positive news to Cast Members and Disney fans alike and should answer the inevitable question, "how is the guest experience going to be improved if they cut the workforce?". We assume the job cuts will be in non-customer facing roles and should therefore have limited impact on guest experience whilst at the parks. 

According to an interview on CNBC, it doesn't seem that Iger will have a huge amount of time to turn the Walt Disney Company around as he confirmed that he only intends to stay as CEO for two years as is stated in his contract.  

I guess we just have to put our trust in Iger to make the right decisions to improve the guest experience for Disney fans. Only time will tell if his choices have the desired effect.

Now cutting jobs is never good news but the reason Iger has given for this is to cut costs in order to run the company more effectively whilst putting the focus back on improving the guest experience. The news of job losses is not going to come as a surprise to many as Iger said he would continue the hiring freeze which had been put in place by Chapek and he would be working on reorganising the company.

Character meet and greet, Disney
Image: Disney

We also heard as part of the earnings call that capacity has been reduced by 20% during peak periods compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is being managed by the continued use of the contentious Parks Pass Reservation system.

The Parks model which has been created can be in seen in the tweet below by reporter Scott Gustin.

As you can see, the Parks model includes putting the focus back on improving guest experience through managing attendance, increasing access for annual passholders and improving the Park Hopper experience, increasing the number of lower priced tickets in order to make the Disney parks more accessible to more people, reinstating complimentary resort parking and investing in new attractions and experiences with story telling at the heart.

Iger also announced that plans are being put in place to bring an Avatar themed experience to Disneyland resort. This is exciting news for Disney fans and more details are promised in the coming months.

Avatar potential new experience Disneyland resort, Disney
Image: Disney

Is Iger on track with this restructuring plan? Is cutting 7,000 jobs the answer? We will keep you updated on the rounds of staff reductions. Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.


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