In Hopkins’ memo, provided to Deadline by Amazon (read it below), he alludes to a review of the company’s business operations across all of its divisions. As a result of that process, he writes, “we’ve identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact.”
Amazon’s $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM closed in 2022.
The parent company laid off about 25,000 workers a year ago, reversing a dramatic increase in staff borne of the onset of Covid in 2020, which caused a boom in demand for Amazon e-commerce deliveries. Amazon Studios and Prime Video last spring let go of 100 of their roughly 7,000 employees.
Operationally, Prime Video has made strides in live sports, kicking off a long-term exclusive deal for NFL Thursday Night Football last year and posting a 24% increase in viewership in its sophomore season. The telecasts draw significant ad dollars, and Prime Video is rolling out advertising more broadly starting this month, with ads appearing in scripted programming for the first time. Subscribers looking to avoid ads will need to pay $3 a month on top of their standard Prime subscription fee.
Amazon Studios has released broad-appeal films like Eddy Murphy starrer Candy Cane Lane and also gave a wide-release theatrical commitment to the Ben Affleck-directed Air. On the series front, it has scored with the likes of Reacher and The Boys, while ultra-pricey bets like The Lord of the Rings and Citadel have had more subdued runs. Free, ad-supported outlet Freevee had a breakthrough last year with Jury Duty and has a roster of other originals.
Here is the full internal memo about today’s moves:
We’ve taken significant steps towards our long-term vision of making Prime Video the first-choice entertainment destination for customers worldwide, and I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a team to date. Our investments in programming, marketing, and technology have enabled us to expand our selection of blockbuster movies, hit TV series, live sports, the world’s largest TVOD catalog along with over 650 partner Channels worldwide, and AVOD services including Freevee – all available in a single destination, delighting customers around the globe. And, through our acquisition of MGM, we’ve increased our investments in theatrical films and driven growth in MGM+ and our licensing and third-party production businesses.
Yet, at the same time, our industry continues to evolve quickly and it’s important that we prioritize our investments for the long-term success of our business, while relentlessly focusing on what we know matters most to our customers. Throughout the past year, we’ve looked at nearly every aspect of our business with an eye towards improving our ability to deliver even more breakthrough movies, TV shows, and live sports in a personalized, easy to use entertainment experience for our global customers. As a result, we’ve identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact. As a result of these decisions, we will be eliminating several hundred roles across the Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios organization.
Today, we will begin to reach out to colleagues who are impacted by these role reductions. Notifications will be sent out shortly, and we expect all notifications in the Americas to be completed this morning (Pacific time), and most other regions by the end of the week. We are following local processes, which may include time for consultation with employee representative bodies, possibly resulting in longer timelines to communicate in some countries.
This is a difficult decision to make and one that my leadership team and I do not take lightly. It is hard to say goodbye to talented Amazonians who’ve made meaningful contributions on behalf of our customers, team and business. Thank you for your dedication and work. To help with the transition, we are providing packages that include a separation payment, transitional benefits as applicable by country, and external job placement support.
Our prioritization of initiatives that we know will move the needle, along with our continued investments in programming, marketing and product, positions our business for an even stronger future. Prime Video is one of the most popular benefits for Prime members, and one of most widely used entertainment destinations in the world. I’m proud of the work you do every day on behalf of our customers, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build our business for the future.