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Disney confirms plans to lay off 32,000 staff

Disney has announced that it will lay off more than 30,000 staff in the first half of 2021.

Following the announced laying off of 28,000 staff in September, the company confirmed that it would reduce its workforce by a total of 32,000 workers next year in a filing with the Securities and Exchange commission.

A spokesperson for Disney confirmed to Variety that the 32,000 total includes the 28,000 previously announced.

The vast majority of these layoffs are from the parks division, which has hemorrhaged cash since the outbreak of the coronavirus. The segment, still the largest part of Disney’s business, ended the 2020 financial year with revenues of US$16.5 billion – down a full US$10 billion from 2019.

Disneyland in Anaheim has remained shut since March, while Walt Disney World in Florida reopened in the summer with limited capacity and strict social distancing. Disneyland Paris has been open and shut at the whim of France’s shifting lockdown rules, but the Asian parks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong have remained open since their staggered reopening.

With the parks business struggling, Disney has put an increasing amount of focus on its DTC business, and Disney+ in particular – with the SVOD recently announced as hitting 73 million global subscribers.

2021 will see the company’s entertainment business operate around a freshly restructured division under Kareen Daniel. Disney announced in October that it will reorganise to separate the development and production of programming from distribution. Disney’s content groups for studios, general entertainment and sports will be led by the same execs – Alan F. Horn and Alan Bergman; Peter Rice; and James Pitaro respectively.