Warner Bros. lays off 50 workers in home entertainment and consumer products units
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. has laid off 50 employees, joining a number of other Hollywood studios to make cutbacks in their home entertainment units in response to a steep fall off in DVD sales.
The cuts represent less than 1% of the Burbank studio's 5,500 workers in the U.S.
In a statement issued late Friday, the Time Warner Inc.-owned studio acknowledged that it "will be undertaking limited staff reductions in our home entertainment and consumer products divisions."
The studio is not alone. Disney is expected to eliminate as many as 250 jobs as early as next week from its staff of about 5,000 people globally. Also, this week, Lionsgate laid off 10 people in its home entertainment division. And, 20th Century Fox cut 22 jobs in home entertainment and information technology divisions, and Paramount Pictures said it plans to reduce costs in its home entertainment group.
Such reductions are a direct result of the continued drop in DVD sales. Purchases of DVDs, Blu-ray discs and digital movies fell 18% in the first quarter of 2011 compared with a year earlier, according to the industry trade organization Digital Entertainment Group.
Meanwhile, new forms of digital distribution, including Amazon.com's video streaming service and Apple Inc.'s iTunes download store, have yet to contribute significantly to the studios' bottom lines.
The cuts were first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski