As soon as the ink was dry on the deal between The Walt Disney Company and Fox to sell the movie and cable TV divisions to the House of Mouse, it was obvious that layoffs were going to be incoming. There would certainly be a lot of redundancy between the two companies that were in almost entirely the same business. We’ve already seen two rounds of not insignificant layoffs, and now a third has hit both sides of the new company.
While Disney has declined to comment on the layoffs, and so exactly how many jobs are being eliminated is unclear, this new round is reportedly smaller than either of the first two rounds of layoffs. The first occurred in March, not long after the merger was finalized, and primarily seemed to be focused on top level executives at Fox who were coming into a new company where their positions were already filled.
The second round took place in May. Those layoffs were reportedly focused on film distribution and marketing, which made sense considering they followed an update Disney release calendar, the first to include Fox pictures. Once Disney knew what the marketing and distribution plans would be for the next few years, the company knew what staffing would be needed, and what was surplus.
These layoffs appear to be more even spread across various divisions of the company.
Don’t expect this to be the end of the bloodletting, THR reports that more layoffs are expected in the coming months. Some estimates have put the total number of job losses as a result of the merger as high as 7,500 people. It appears that the total number of people who have lost their jobs so far is only around a couple hundred, so even if the estimates are high, there are almost certainly many more layoffs to come.
It would seem unlikely that we’ll be seeing any sort of mass layoff of hundreds of people, such a shift would cause significant upheaval in the company, so seeing multiple layoffs of small numbers of people every month or two is likely how things will be going for the foreseeable future.
The first round of layoffs were reportedly offered severance packages and some of those informed of termination were actually kept on for a limited period of time to ease the transition. Decisions like this should help ease the pain of job loss for many, giving them a bit of time to find more work. One hopes that similar deals are available to everybody being let go.
While there are benefits to the merger on the content side of things, more consolidation of the Marvel Comics properties‘ film rights, and thus an increased value to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the ability to add new and exciting franchises to Disney Parks, this is the unfortunate but inevitable downside of there being fewer major film studios in Hollywood. While the Fox name will continue to exist, it won’t be the same company that it once was, and as a result, it won’t need as many people to do everything the new company will be doing.