By Joe Flint 

NBCUniversal has begun making staff cuts across its entertainment portfolio including its sports and cable channels, broadcast networks, movie studio and theme parks, according to people familiar with the matter.

The layoffs have been anticipated for several months and are primarily tied to the effect the coronavirus has had on many of the Comcast Corp. unit's operations. Revenue at NBCU declined 25% to $6.1 billion in the second quarter, a result of theme park closures, the postponement of movie releases and advertising drops at its TV properties.

NBCUniversal has 35,000 full-time employees. The reductions are expected to be held to less than 10% of staff, a person close to the matter said.

Other entertainment companies including Walt Disney Co. and Fox Corp. have also been in cost-cutting mode as the coronavirus has pummeled their bottom lines. AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia is expected to begin staff reductions as early as next week, people close to that company said. WarnerMedia is the parent of HBO, Warner Bros. and several cable networks including CNN and TNT.

Fox Corp. and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp share common ownership.

Most production of movies and television shows continues to be shut down, particularly in Los Angeles. When production does resume, costs are expected to rise as a result of testing and other safety protocols related to the virus.

The NBCUniversal layoffs come at the same time the company is overhauling its entertainment operations under new Chief Executive Jeff Shell. On last week's Comcast earnings call, Mr. Shell said the unit is "finalizing a new structure that will demonstrate the unique way we intend to manage this business going forward."

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 04, 2020 12:31 ET (16:31 GMT)

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