Paramount CEO Announces Layoffs One Day After Boasting About Super Bowl Revenue

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish has announced a round of layoffs for approximately 800 jobs, one day after trumpeting the ratings and revenue of Super Bowl 58. In Tuesday’s memo to employees, Bakish wrote that “returning our company to earnings growth is a top priority in 2024. This will require us to continue to grow revenue, while reducing costs.”

The news of layoffs comes right after Paramount celebrated its record-breaking ratings for broadcasting Super Bowl 58. This season’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers was reportedly the most-watched telecast in American broadcast history across CBS, Nickelodeon, Univision, Paramount+, and various digital platforms. In a memo Monday, Bakish praised the company’s sales team, who “exceeded all expectations.” The CEO gushed about how quickly the advertising inventory sold out. “We scored the largest gross ad revenue in the history of the Super Bowl,” Bakish wrote, emphasis his.

Despite this immensely lucrative NFL event, Paramount is stuck in a precarious spot. It feels the urgency to move away from traditional television, like other companies, but Paramount+ is unprofitable and second-rate to other streaming services, and the overall streaming division lost over $1 billion last year, according to the New York Times. The success of CBS and an unexpectedly strong third quarter in 2023 still wasn’t enough to generate whatever benchmark there was for desired profit and investor growth.

Paramount is scheduled to release a full 2023 financial report on Feb. 28. Beyond that, the future is uncertain, as controlling shareholder Shari Redstone has considered selling her stake in the company. But to get back to the present, it feels particularly absurd and gauche for a CEO to send a gushing email about how everyone worked together to bring in a record-breaking amount of money, right before announcing hundreds of layoffs because there needs to be more money. The largest gross ad revenue in the history of the Super Bowl must come as a comfort to those escorted out the door with their belongings.

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