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Paramount Global laying off 3% of workforce, despite Super Bowl ratings record

Paramount Global is laying off 800 employees to cut costs and return to earnings growth as the media industry grapples with streaming dominance and the fallout from Hollywood strikes

Paramount Global announced on Tuesday that it will lay off about 800 employees, according to reports, just two days after its asset CBS Sports recorded the most-watched telecast of all time with its broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

CEO Bob Bakish informed employees in a memo on Tuesday seen by Reuters and Variety, that roughly 3% of its workforce will be shaved as the media company looks to cut costs and return to earnings growth this year.

The media industry has been grappling with the changing landscape of streaming gaining dominance over traditional television and the impact of the Hollywood strikes last year. A soft advertising market and economic uncertainties have added to the pressure.


U.S. employees who face the exit door are being notified on Tuesday. Employees in offices outside the U.S. will also be affected.

Paramount owns several TV networks including the CBS broadcast network and cable offerings, such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, VH1 and others. It also operates Paramount+, a subscription video streaming service. 

"These adjustments will help enable us to build on our momentum and execute our strategic vision for the year ahead – and I firmly believe we have much to be excited about," Bakish wrote in the memo.

"While I realize these changes are in no way easy … I am confident this is the right decision for our future," Bakish wrote, according to Variety.

The layoffs were not unexpected, since Bakish announced last month the company was considering slashing its workforce. Paramount Global did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Business. 


Bakish said previously that Paramount was going to focus its resources on its "most powerful, resonant franchises, films and series," and produce fewer local, international originals, Bakish said. The studio is home to such film franchises as "Top Gun" and "Mission: Impossible," as well as the hit television show "Yellowstone."

Paramount’s shares are down around 3.3% today and are currently trading at about $12.96 per share. 

The layoffs come on the back of Sunday’s Super Bowl being the most watched of all time, drawing in an average audience of 123.4 million viewers, CBS Sports announced. The viewership numbers, based on Nielsen Fast National data and Adobe Analytics, smashed the previous record of 115.1 million average viewers from last year’s game. 

CBS Sports says the game, which aired as well on the Paramount+ service, also was the "most-streamed Super Bowl in history," while the broadcast also featured a halftime performance from Usher, with appearances from artists including Alicia Keys and Ludacris.


The news also comes just two weeks after media mogul Byron Allen offered $14.3 billion to purchase Paramount Global, after an effort to acquire the conglomerate last year failed to gain traction.

Allen Media Group previously offered to buy BET from Paramount with a roughly $3 billion offer last year, although the company decided not to sell the network, according to a previous report by the Wall Street Journal. Allen Media Group owns TheGrio and The Weather Channel, among other media outlets.

Overall, more than 23,670 workers have been let go from 82 tech companies worldwide in January, according to tracking website Major media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and Sports Illustrated, also have shed workers.

Fox News’ Eric Revell and Greg Norman as well as Reuters contributed to this report.

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