By the end of March 2021, Walt Disney will have 32,000 fewer employees, according to information the company filed to US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
This is a clear departure from the earlier 28,000 employees the company announced would be relieved of their jobs back in September. The company currently has a staff strength of about 223,000 people, with 100,000 based in the US.
Disney is among the many companies in the parks and hospitality business in the United States and elsewhere in the world whose revenue channels have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.
The company, whose interests cut across media and entertainment, has announced a series of stringent cost-saving measures to stay afloat. It warned its shareholders that it might stop quarterly dividend. It also announced to staff of the company that it may not contribute its quota to their pension and medical plans, HuffPost writes.
It went further to disclose that investment in movies and television shows would be reduced in the meantime. Disney admitted in its filings that some of the steps it wished to carry out in the future would affect their business in no small measure.
The company postponed the takeoff of its cruise line to sometime next year and also held back major releases of films such as Black Widow. The movie had been anticipated throughout the year and was expected to be one of 2020’s major releases.
The announcement by Disney of a planned layoff in September had attracted widespread condemnations from Americans who felt the company was taking a wrong step. Two voices stood out – Senator Elizabeth Warren and Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Roy Disney, a co-founder of the Disney company.
Warren accused Disney of not looking at the big picture. She claimed Disney played a huge role in their current economic downturn by awarding bumper compensation packages to executives and shareholders. Disney CEO Bob Chapek dismissed Warren’s claims as unfounded. However, Abigail Disney agreed with the senator.
Disney was hit with substantial revenue losses when about a dozen of its parks and resorts across America, Asia, and Europe were shut down for months on end during the height of the pandemic. Disney Parks in Shanghai and Florida have since commenced operations, while its major park in California remains shut down. Its park in Paris, which had resumed temporary operation, was forced to close when a second wave of the coronavirus infections began in France.
However, it’s not all been bad news for Disney. In 2020, another major revenue source opened for the company. Disney+, its fledgling streaming service, blew up to 74 million subscribers. This forced the company to overhaul its management and place a major focus on the streaming service. While Disney announced a $10.4 billion profit in 2019, by September 2020, the company had recorded a $2.8 billion loss.