AMC Networks, the company behind AMC, Shudder, IFC, WE tv and SundanceTV, is planning a significant number of layoffs in the near future. The news comes from a staff memo from the company's chairman James Tolan, obtained my the Wall Street Journal today. Word of the layoffs follows the news that CEO Christina Spade had stepped down, just three months after stepping into the job. Spade's departure rocked the company and caused the need for the Dolan memo. AMC's board is looking for a replacement for Spade, who Dolan also thanked for her work as CEO and, before that, CFO for the company.
Spade stepped into the CEO role on September 9 after just over a year and a half with the company in the roles of CFO and COO. Dolan tried to reassure employees that while layoffs are coming, the company is doing their best to minimize its impact.
You can see Dolan's statement below:
As I am sure you are aware our industry has been under pressure from growing subscriber losses. This is primarily due to "cord cutting." At the same time we have seen the rise of direct to consumer streaming apps including our own AMC+. It was our belief that cord cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming. This has not been the case. We are primarily a content company and the mechanisms for the monetization of content are in disarray.
It is for that reason that myself and the Board of Directors of AMC Networks have concluded that we as a company need to conserve our resources at this time. We have directed the executive leadership of AMC Networks to undergo significant cutbacks in operations. These will include a large-scale layoff as well as cuts to every operating area of AMC Networks. We of course realize that this will cause significant concern and anxiety for our employees and those who rely on AMC Networks for their livelihood. We do not take this lightly. We will take every step possible to minimize the impact of these actions on our community. However, it is imperative that we begin immediately with this new course of action.
The Dolan Family and the Board of AMC Networks have great pride in the company and products that you have created. This is a confusing and uncertain time in our industry. We are confident that AMC Networks will come through this even stronger. Your executive leadership will follow up with details shortly. We wish only the best for everyone in the AMC Networks community.
Spade is set to receive roughly $10 million in severance pay and benefits.
Before Spade, management had been consistent at AMC Networks for decades. Josh Sapan reigned for 26 years, during which time AMC made itself a cultural force to be reckoned with with hits like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad. All of those (as well as the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul) are now over, although there are still plenty of Walking Dead-adjacent projects in the works.