Layoffs Coming at Paramount Global But No Details in Bob

Layoffs Coming at Paramount Global, But No Details in Bob Bakish's 2024 Strategy Memo; CEO acknowledges M&A speculation – Deadline

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said Thursday that the company will continue to reduce its global workforce “to operate leaner and spend less.” However, no further details were provided in a memo to employees obtained by Deadline following a “Bob Live” town hall this morning.

The company has three main strategic goals for the future: maximizing content, increasing streaming profitability and “further unlocking the power of ONE PARAMOUNT.”

“As has been the case in recent years, this means we will continue to reduce our workforce globally,” the memo said. “These decisions are never easy, but they are critical on our path to earnings growth.”

Read the full memo below.

Deadline reported last weekend that cuts at Paramount would affect hundreds of employees across the company. The WSJ had put the number of layoffs at around 1,000 in December, leading to a pretty brutal wait for employees that is still ongoing. Deadline heard that executives were given reduction targets to achieve in order to cut costs.

“With all of these changes, it’s no surprise that Paramount continues to be the subject of speculation. We are a long-established listed company in a closely followed industry. But I have always believed that the best thing we can do is focus on what we can control – execution,” Bakish wrote.

Below is the full memo.

Team, today we dedicated the first Bob Live of 2024 to our strategic focus for the year. Importantly, this vision builds on all of this remarkable team's achievements in 2023 – and we have undoubtedly made incredible progress. Last year, Paramount+ continued to be one of the fastest-growing paid streaming services and Pluto TV was the most widely used FAST service in the world.

We had the No. 1 show on television, five No. 1 box office debuts and the No. 1 network last season, just to name a few accomplishments. In these and other ways, we unleash the power of our content, which remains our mission no matter what challenges we face. And we've certainly experienced a few. As an industry, we have faced a weak advertising market, a volatile macroeconomic environment and two historic strikes in the last year alone. And all of this takes into account the ongoing evolution of the streaming business as industry sentiment and success metrics continue to change. And we've been on our own journey as a company – to realize One Paramount's full potential as we transition our business from linear to streaming and continue to refine the way we exploit and monetize our content.

With all of these changes, it's no surprise that Paramount continues to be the subject of speculation. We are a long-established listed company in a closely followed industry. But I've always believed that the best thing we can do is focus on what we can control – execution. Relying on what works while continuously adapting to current realities.

So what does this mean for us in 2024? Our priority is to drive profit growth. And we achieve this goal by increasing our revenue while carefully controlling costs – a balance that requires alignment across teams, departments and brands. More specifically, we have three key strategies to achieve this:

1. Maximize the CONTENT that has the greatest impact. When it comes to mass, popular content, we've always delivered at the top of our game. And it's become abundantly clear to our audiences and partners around the world that our Hollywood hits are the biggest draw. That's why in 2024 we're focusing our resources on the most influential and resonant franchises, films and series running across all platforms worldwide. As we refine our content strategy, this means we will produce fewer local, international originals for our platforms, apart from our leading free-to-air networks in Australia, Argentina, Chile and the UK, where we will continue to have a strong pipeline local content. And we will continue to maximize our global hits across multiple platforms and revenue streams – including streaming, film, TV and licensing – to achieve the greatest possible return on our investment.

2. Pursue STREAMING profitability. We've learned a lot since launching Paramount+ almost three years ago. As we said last quarter, we expect 2022 to be our highest investment year, putting us a year ahead of schedule on this key metric. As we continue to strive for streaming profitability, this year we will expand further into major markets such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia, where we have a strong multi-platform presence, where our US studio content is best received and where the best is available Sales potential. In other key markets in Europe, Latin America and Asia, we will continue our market-by-market strategy, leveraging the power of our strong local partnerships to ensure we operate with the best model to increase local reach and viewership costs administer. Globally, increasing subscriber engagement and retention across our platforms will also be critical in our path to profitability in streaming. This includes increasing advertising, subscription and licensing revenue – including our recently announced targets under the Paramount+ brand – while we continue to operate as efficiently as possible and reduce costs.

3. Continue to release the power of ONE PARAMOUNT. We've made great progress on this front, but we can do more to harness the collective power of our company. This means continuing to collaborate across teams, time zones and functions on efforts such as cross-promotion, innovative partnerships, data and insights and more to make the most of our resources and expertise. As always, we will continue to work to strengthen our culture – prioritizing inclusion, people and leadership development, and leading our teams through change. Our One Paramount mentality will not only drive better results, but will also allow us to operate as a leaner company and spend less. Where possible, we will look to expand our shared services model while streamlining our operations.

As in recent years, this means that we will continue to reduce our workforce worldwide. These decisions are never easy, but they are critical on our path to profit growth. We will continue to be as considerate as possible, communicate when there is information to share, and support our teams throughout. If you didn't get a chance to listen to today's Bob Live, please do so on Vimeo whenever you can. There is more information there – and more to come. Expect updates on our progress on this strategy throughout the year. In many ways, 2024 will be the next big step in our transformation and we need to evolve the way we work to support this. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am for your dedication and how proud I am of everything this team continues to accomplish. Given all that we have achieved together, I have no doubt that we are up to the task.

Best, Bob