What you need to know:
- Amazon announces layoffs affecting several hundred employees in Prime and Amazon MGM studios.
- SVP Mike Hopkins cites a need to reduce investments in certain areas.
- The decision comes after Twitch decided to cut 500 jobs, signaling an evolving streaming industry.
The new year didn’t start off on a good note for a large chunk of Amazon employees in the video streaming department.
In its latest round of tech layoffs, Amazon announced it is letting go of ‘several hundred’ employees from its Prime and Amazon MGM studios on Wednesday morning, as reported by The Information.
The decision was sent out by the SVP of Prime Video and Amazon MGM, Mike Hopkins, via an email obtained by the The Information, where he claims he has “identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas” but plans to increase spending on some “content and product initiatives that have the most impact.”
According to a memo obtained by another publication, Indie Wire, Hopkins also emphasized the volatility of the industry, stating, “it continues to evolve quickly and it’s important that we prioritize our investments for the long-term success of our business.”
“As a result of these decisions, we will be eliminating several hundred roles across the Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios organization,” Hopkins added.
The exact percentage of affected employees remains unclear, with an Indie Wire source suggesting it represents a relatively small fraction of Hopkins’ staff.
In the email, Hopkins says staffers will be informed this morning and that the outreach for employees in the Americas will be completed (PT). This includes employees in Amazon’s FAST service, Freevee, who also fall under his compass.
“This is a difficult decision to make and one that my leadership team and I do not take lightly,” Hopkins explained.
“It is hard to say goodbye to talented Amazonians who’ve made meaningful contributions on behalf of our customers, team and business. Thank you for your dedication and work.”
The decision comes just ahead of the scheduled introduction of ads on Amazon Prime on January 29, requiring an additional $2.99 payment for those opting out.
The announcement follows a broader trend within Amazon, as the company is reportedly cutting 500 workers from its live streaming platform Twitch, as reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday.
Amazon Prime hosts popular shows such as Reacher, Citadel, and the Wheel of Time. Amazon purchased MGM Studios back in 2021 for $8.5 billion, which houses more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV episodes.
The layoffs reflect strategic adjustments in response to the ever-changing landscape of the streaming industry.
Here’s the full note sent by Hopkins to his employees:
We’ve taken significant steps towards our long-term vision of making Prime Video the first-choice entertainment destination for customers worldwide, and I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a team to date. Our investments in programming, marketing, and technology have enabled us to expand our selection of blockbuster movies, hit tv series, live sports, the world’s largest TVOD catalog along with over 650 partner Channels worldwide, and AVOD services including Freevee – all available in a single destination, delighting customers around the globe. And, through our acquisition of MGM, we’ve increased our investments in theatrical films and driven growth in MGM+ and our licensing and third-party production businesses.
Yet, at the same time, our industry continues to evolve quickly and it’s important that we prioritise our investments for the long-term success of our business, while relentlessly focusing on what we know matters most to our customers. Throughout the past year, we’ve looked at nearly every aspect of our business with an eye towards improving our ability to deliver even more breakthrough movies, TV shows, and live sports in a personalized, easy to use entertainment experience for our global customers. As a result, 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. As a result of these decisions, we will be eliminating several hundred roles across the Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios organization.
Today, we will begin to reach out to colleagues who are impacted by these role reductions. Notifications will be sent out shortly, and we expect all notifications in the Americas to be completed this morning (Pacific time), and most other regions by the end of the week. We are following local processes, which may include time for consultation with employee representative bodies, possibly resulting in longer timelines to communicate in some countries.
This is a difficult decision to make and one that my leadership team and I do not take lightly. It is hard to say goodbye to talented Amazonians who’ve made meaningful contributions on behalf of our customers, team and business. Thank you for your dedication and work. To help with the transition, we are providing packages that include a separation payment, transitional benefits as applicable by country, and external job placement support.
Our prioritization of initiatives that we know will move the needle, along with our continued investments in programming, marketing and product, positions our business for an even stronger future. Prime Video is one of the most popular benefits for Prime members, and one of most widely used entertainment destinations in the world. I’m proud of the work you do every day on behalf of our customers, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build our business for the future.
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Nandika Ravi is an Editor for Android Central. Based in Toronto, after rocking the news scene as a Multimedia Reporter and Editor at Rogers Sports and Media, she now brings her expertise into the Tech ecosystem. When not breaking tech news, you can catch her sipping coffee at cosy cafes, exploring new trails with her boxer dog or leveling up in the gaming universe.