Netflix Lays Off 30 Film Animation Staffers

The cuts align streamer's animation film production team under VP Traci Balthazor.
Netflix "If Anything Happens I Love You"
"If Anything Happens I Love You"
Shorts TV

Netflix has laid off 30 staffers from its Film Animation teams, IndieWire has confirmed.

Earlier this year, Netflix unveiled new leadership for its Animation Film team: vice president of Animation Film Content Karen Toliver and VP of Animation Film Production Traci Balthazor. Wednesday’s changes organize the animated-film production business under Balthazor, a person with knowledge of the plans told us. The 30 roles in question were no longer needed, the person said.

Netflix has had seven animated projects nominated for Oscars over the past five years, including a win for “If Anything Happens, I Love You” (Best Animated Short Film). The other nominated animated films include 2022 nominees “Robin Robin” (Best Animated Short) and “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” (Best Animated Feature), 2021’s “Over The Moon” (Best Animated Feature Film) and “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Best Animated Feature), and 2020’s “I Lost My Body” (Best Animated Feature) and “Klaus” (Best Animated Feature).

Deadline first reported the news of the Netflix layoffs.

Cost-cutting has become a major focus of streaming services, and layoffs are one unfortunate way to get there. Netflix is not alone in employing an employee-reduction strategy; on Tuesday, Warner Bros. Discovery laid off 100 staffers. Much of those cuts, which hit the ad-sales teams particularly hard, were previously announced but executed yesterday.

Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery are probably the companies on the hottest of seats to cut costs. Netflix’s valuation plummeted after the streaming king revealed it lost subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. It lost more in the second quarter. The combination of the former WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc., which officially formed a new company in April, has been self-tasked with trimming $3 billion in costs. Most famously perhaps was the unceremonious cancellation of “Batgirl,” a movie planned and produced for streaming service HBO Max that has instead turned into a tax write off. There was other cuts in content where that one came from.

On Tuesday, Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said his company is on target or ahead of its lofty savings goals. “I’ve already guided $2 to $3 billion of actual synergy capture in 2023,” he said at the Goldman Sachs 2022 Communacopia + Technology Conference. “So we are moving at pace here.”

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