Maker Cutting Thousands From Creator Network, Focusing on Top 300
It's a tumultuous time for Disney-owned Maker Studios, which will cut thousands from its creator network and layoff an unspecified number of employees. The multi-channel network was purchased by Disney in December 2015 for $675 million after earn-outs, but isn't profitable. Trimming the company's creator network, which its website describes as numbering in the thousands, to the top 300 is a way to focus attention on prominent creators and attempt to build breakout successes. Following on that news, The Hollywood Reporter quotes unnamed sources as saying the company will go through another round of layoffs, which it calls "significant." Maker laid off approximately 30 staffers in July 2016, calling it a strategic adjustment.
“They don’t have a need for the entire team,” an unnamed source told Variety, adding that Maker is “not a self-contained unit anymore.”
Adding to the difficulty of layoffs and creator cuts, Maker severed ties with Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, YouTube's top video creator, this week over anti-Semitic messaging in a video stunt.
This isn't the only recent shakeup in the Generation Z-focused video market. A few days ago, Verizon and AwesomenessTV announced they were stopping development on a co-created premium video service before it launched. Instead, the two will focus on creating additional episodic series output for Go90.
Both Disney and Defy Media promised advertisers premium originals that reach generation Z and millennial viewers on a variety of platforms.
Does Verizon have a game plan? The chaos coming out of its video division suggests a mad scramble for Gen Z viewers, but no real results.
While Maker acquired Blip two years ago for off-YouTube video distribution, it no longer sees a future for that idea.