AT&T To Lay Off 600 At HBO and Warner Bros. After Revenue Decline

AT&T’s WarnerMedia division is planning to lay off hundreds of employees in AT&T’s latest cost-cutting move. Ars Technica reports: “Warner Bros. is expected to commence layoffs of around 650 people starting Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, while HBO is seen shedding between 150 and 175 staffers. A WarnerMedia spokesman declined to comment,” Variety reported yesterday. The numbers quoted in Variety may be a bit too high. A source with knowledge of the AT&T layoffs told Ars that the real number is about 600 jobs across all of WarnerMedia, which includes Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner. The layoffs come days after WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced a shakeup including the departure of three executives and an increased focus on AT&T’s new HBO Max streaming service. Kilar detailed the changes in an internal memo published by CNBC on Friday.

In its Q2 2020 earnings report, AT&T said that HBO revenue was “$1.6 billion, down 5.2 percent year over year, reflecting a decrease in subscription revenues and content and other revenues.” HBO operating expenses were “$1.5 billion, up 32.5 percent year over year, primarily due to higher programming costs and expenses related to HBO Max.” HBO operating income was $113 million, down 80.3 percent. Warner Bros. revenue in Q2 was $3.3 billion, down 3.9 percent year over year partly because of “the postponement of theatrical releases due to closure of movie theaters,” AT&T said. Warner Bros. operating income rose 43.9 percent to $633 million, however, as the unit’s operating expenses declined 11.1 percent to $2.6 billion “primarily due to the production hiatus and lower marketing expenses.”

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