Amazon Cuts Staff In Audible, Prime Video and MGM Studio Divisions

Amazon has reportedly carried out a series of job cuts across a number of its divisions this week, spelling bad news for staff at the start of 2024.

It began this week when it emerged that Amazon-owned game streaming service Twitch was about to lay off a large number of its workforce, by cutting as many as 500 staff, or approximately 35 percent of the workforce, on top of two rounds of layoffs at the unit back in 2023.

Days after that, reports have emerged that Amazon is also laying off several hundred employees in its streaming (Prime Video) and studio operations (Amazon MGM Studios), as well as 5 percent of its workforce of Audible (Amazon’s audiobook and podcast division).

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Audible job losses

The job losses at Audible was reported by CNBC, which obtained a copy of a memo from the Audible CEO Bob Carrigan.

In the memo sent to Audible staff Thursday, Carrigan reportedly said the company is in good shape, but faces an “increasingly challenging landscape.”

“We did not take this route without considerable thought,” Carrigan was quoted as saying. “But getting leaner and more efficient is the way we will need to operate now – and in the foreseeable future – in order to continue delivering best-in-class audio storytelling to our customers around the world.”

“I recognize the impact this will have on those transitioning out of Audible as well as all of you who remain,” Carrigan added. “Thanks to all who are leaving us for their valuable contributions. Please be assured we will be supporting our departing colleagues as they look for their next opportunity.”

Representatives from Audible didn’t respond to CNBC’s requests for comment, and there is no word on the exact numbers being axed, other than the 5 percent of the Audible workforce.

Amazon had acquired Audible for about $300 million back in 2008. It is understood the unit has remained largely independent since that acquisition, but it is not immune to broader cuts underway at its parent.

Last year, Amazon cut more than 27,000 jobs in total, in a series of workforce reductions after heavy hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amazon also in November 2023 cut “several hundred” jobs at its Alexa voice assistant division.

But the Audible job cuts are not the only job losses at Amazon this week.

Prime Video, Amazon MGM Studies

Earlier in the week Amazon announced it was cutting as many as 500 staff from its game streaming site Twitch.

Shortly after that, an internal note on Wednesday revealed that Amazon will also lay-off several hundred employees in its streaming and studio operations.

The staff facing exit at Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios in the Americas were informed on Wednesday and in most other regions by the end of the week.

“We’ve identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, told employees in a note seen by Reuters.

Amazon has spent heavily on content to bolster its media operation, including approximately $465 million on the first season of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Prime Video in 2022.

Prior to that in May 2021 Amazon had purchased veteran film studio MGM for $8.45 billion.

In the face of cost and inflationary pressures Amazon is seeking to increase revenues from its media operations.

In September 2023 Amazon officially confirmed that it would include adverts with its Prime Video service in 2024, unless users opt for a higher cost ad-free subscription plan.

Last month Amazon said adverts would begin appearing for UK customers of the Amazon Prime Video service on 5 February 2024.

It follows similar moves by rivals Netflix and Walt Disney.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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