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Disney reportedly freezes hiring and expects some layoffs

The company reported $1.5 billion in operating loss for streaming.
London, UK - 14 March, 2022: wide angle image depicting the exterior of a Disney store in central London, with blurred motion of people walking past on the street outside the shop.
coldsnowstorm via Getty Images
Mariella Moon
Mariella Moon|@mariella_moon|November 12, 2022 10:36 AM

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has told division leads in a letter that the company is implementing cost cutting measures in part to help it "achieve the important goal of reaching profitability for Disney+ in fiscal 2024." Based on the internal memo obtained by CNBC, Disney is planning to limit additions to its workforce through a targeted hiring freeze. It will still welcome new people for the "most critical, business-driving positions," but all other roles are on hold for now. Chapek has also admitted in his letter that Disney "anticipate[s] some staff reductions" as it looks at all aspects of its business to find places where it can save money. 

Chapek's letter comes after Disney reported less-than-stellar earnings for the previous quarter. While Disney+ welcomed 12.1 million new subscribers for the company's fourth fiscal quarter ending on October 1st, the company's operating loss for streaming jumped from $0.8 billion to $1.5 billion. The company expects its losses to taper off going forward, thanks to its streaming services' price hikes and the launch of an ad-supported tier on Disney+. In his memo, Chapek also reiterated he is "confident in [the company's] ability to reach the targets [it has] set," but Disney clearly intends to tighten its belt until it hits its goals.

Disney is but one of the many companies imposing a hiring freeze due to the economic downturn. When Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook parent company is laying off 11,000 employees, he also said that it's extending its hiring freeze through the first quarter of 2023. Amazon froze hiring at its corporate offices earlier this month, as well. 

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Disney reportedly freezes hiring and expects some layoffs