Warner Bros Discovery to cut 30% of ad sales team, impacts in Asia yet to be felt

Warner Bros Discovery to cut 30% of ad sales team, impacts in Asia yet to be felt

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Warner Bros Discovery is looking to cut up to 30% of its global ad sales team, impacting almost 1,000 jobs. According to a report on Reuters, the company is said to be offering its US ad sales team an opportunity to voluntarily leave the company.

The move comes shortly after Warner Media’s completed merger with Discovery. Warner Bros Discovery is currently run by CEO David Zaslav and according to media reports; Zaslav is looking to find “cost synergies” of at least US$3 billion in 2023.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that currently the effects have not been felt here is Asia, and the team is relatively lean compared to the US. Last year, WarnerMedia also launched its new regional hub for Asia (excluding China and Japan) in Singapore. The hub fully integrates WarnerMedia’s business in the region, including Warner Bros., HBO and Turner brands. The hub also consolidates six different WarnerMedia offices across Singapore and two from Hong Kong. 

The move isn’t an unexpected one. With the merger of Warner Media and Discovery, major overlaps are expected in cable programming and streaming, in which Turner networks, Discovery+ and HBO Max are able to share resources.

Most recently, CNN was forced to shut down its CNN+ streaming service a month after the roll out. According to The Wall Street Journal, CNN reportedly spent US$300 million developing the platform and the decision was made by the new management following the merger of WarnerMedia, CNN's previous parent company, with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery earlier in April.

CNN's report said that there were hundreds of CNN+ employees who are expected to lose their jobs, and CNN CEO Chris Licht who said in an internal memo that this was "a uniquely sh*tty" situation shared that the company will continue to pay all CNN+ employees for the next 90 days.

The merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery was first announced in May 2021. According to press statements then, the merger saw AT&T receive US$43 billion in cash and debt securities. Meanwhile, AT&T shareholders received stock representing 71% of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Discovery shareholders owned the remaining 29%. As at close, AT&T received US$40.4 billion in cash and WarnerMedia's retention of certain debt. 

According to a statement by Warner Bros. Discovery, the merger combines WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses, including Discovery Channel, discovery+, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, CNN+, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, Food Network, Investigation Discovery, TBS, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Turner Classic Movies, among others.

Warner Bros. Discovery also began trading on the Nasdaq as “WBD”, effective 11 April 2022. 

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