Sadly it appears that many at Machinima have lost their jobs, and the brand seems to be marching towards a full shut down.
Machinima is owned by Otter Media, and according to documents obtained from California's Employment Development Department, the company laid off 81 people two weeks ago, all who work at the headquarters in Burbank, California (via Variety). At last count there were around 100 people working for Machinima at this point, so that is most of the staff.
Otter has kept a "select number of Machinima employees" onboard, and an Otter Media spokeswoman said that Machinima is now "actively providing services to supercharge the combined portfolio of Otter Media. They also added, "Machinima has ceased its remaining operations, which includes layoffs."
While they said Machinima has ceased operations, they are also saying that they haven't shut Machinima down but merged it with their other core businesses in a company statement. "Otter has brought over valuable parts of the Machinima business that we believe amplify our focus on the gaming and anime community."
That group includes certain independent creators who had previously worked with Machinima, which when paired with Otter Media's Rooster Teeth will act "as a catalyst for strategic expansion into a premium studio, and their social team supports Rooster Teeth's existing news brand 'The Know' and gaming groups 'Achievement Hunter' and 'Funhaus," according to an Otter Media representative.
Those remaining are small in number and do include GM of Machinima Russell Arons. The Otter rep said that Arons "remains with Machinima and is assisting with transitional activities as she explores new opportunities."
As for the layoffs, they had to be given with at least 60 days notice thanks to the WARN Act, and the official termination date for those 81 employees is March 16th. No reason was really given as to why this many cuts had to be made to Machinima, though Variety says a source familiar with this situation said the order for the layoffs came directly from WarnerMedia's top executives.
Sadly this isn't the first digital company that has been shuttered since AT&T took over WarnerMedia. FilmStruck, DramaFever, and Super Deluxe Studios have also been closed down, and while Otter Media says Machinima is not closed, it is safe to say that it won't ever be like it was either.
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