Hundreds Laid Off at Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, Unity
Amazon Prime’s Staff Reductions
According to IndieWire on Wednesday, Amazon‘s Prime Video and MGM branch are planning to lay off “several hundred” staff members. The affected employees across North and South America were informed on the same day, while employees in other regions received this notice by the end of the week.
Mike Hopkins, the senior vice-president of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios confirmed in an email to employees that the companies are refocusing “our resources towards the long-term success of our business.” In his statement to IndieWire, he elaborated that the companies will channel their finances towards programming, marketing, product, and initiatives that will drive results in the future.
As per Deadline’s report on Friday, as a part of this downsizing, Amazon Prime Video‘s Southeast Asia branch in Singapore will see a reduction in its original productions team. Gaurav Gandhi, the vice President of Prime Video in the Asia Pacific, explained that the company will “scale back investments in South East Asia (SEA) and adopt a more streamlined local operation model to support the SEA territories.” Currently operating with a 25-member team, the regional division will now focus on licensing local and pan-regional content from South Korea, the Japanese anime industry, and India. Gandhi clarified that there was “no change in our investment approach in our other APAC territories including Japan and India.”
Amazon‘s Prime Video will start broadcasting ads for subscribers in the US, excluding Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Mariana Islands starting January 29. The ads will also begin in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada from February 5. To accommodate customers who prefer not to see ads, the company is providing an option of an ad-free subscription tier at an additional cost of US$2.99 per month on top of the basic subscription fee. Amazon Prime Video will extend its ad operations to France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia at some point in 2024.
Twitch‘s Workforce Downsizing
The livestreaming service Twitch, owned by Amazon, announced in a blog post on Wednesday that Amazon is planning to let go of 35% of Twitch‘s staff members, eliminating approximately 500 positions at the company. According to Bloomberg, the job cuts are in response to “concerns over losses at Twitch and the departure of several high-level executives within a few months.” The Chief Executive Officer of Twitch, Dan Clancy, declared in December that the company will pull out of South Korea on February 27 due to excessive operating costs. The streaming website was purchased by Amazon for US$970 million in cash back in 2014.
Unity’s Employee Layoffs
In a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 8, Unity Software announced plans to lay off about 25% of its workforce, which amounts to nearly 1,800 positions, by the end of March. Although Unity is primarily known for its video game engine, the company has endorsed the use of its engine by animation studios like Graphinica and Craftar in the anime industry. CEO Jim Whitehurst announced a “company reset” in November, following which the company’s shares have seen a 40% increase, as per Reuters. The announced layoffs will mark the fourth round of job cuts since July 2022.