Paramount Global Targets Ad Sales Staff For Layoffs

Paramount Global is winnowing down its ad-sales staff after the unit was recently restructured by its new leader.

The job losses are said to number fewer than 100, according to a person familiar with the matter, and come after John Halley, named president of Paramount Global’s ad-sales efforts in September, realigned much of his staff to focus on direct relationships with major media-buying agencies.

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Paramount Global declined to make executives available for comment. Executives who were recently elevated or given new senior roles in ad sales are expected to remain, this persons said. Deadline previously reported on the company’s job cuts.

The move comes at a time of upheaval not just for the company formerly known as ViacomCBS, but for the entire entertainment industry as it grapples with a downturn in advertising sales and a roiling stock market, as well as a continued migration of consumers to streaming video.

Other big entertainment companies have cut ad-sales in recent months. Warner Bros. Discovery, which has been looking to cut costs after merging the former Discovery Communications and WarnerMedia, cut staffers in its ad-sales operations.

Paramount has made several big changes in recent months, with the most recent high-profile move being the ousting of David Nevins, the chairman and CEO of Paramount Premium Group (which includes Showtime) and chief creative officer of Paramount+ scripted series. On Oct. 6, it was confirmed that Nevins would be stepping down from his post by the end of the year, just over a year after being named to the expanded role.

As part of that shakeup, Showtime Networks now falls under Chris McCarthy and his Paramount Media Networks oversight. Showtime’s digital OTT operation is now under Paramount Streaming, under Tom Ryan, while BET and Paramount Television Studios will now report to George Cheeks, the president and CEO of CBS who already oversaw news and sports at Paramount+ as chief content officer.

A month later, Paramount moved oversight of VH1 over to the BET Media Group, giving BET president/CEO Scott Mills and his team the reins from McCarthy, who now has his hands full with Showtime.

Paramount president/CEO Bob Bakish made the announcement Nov. 9 in a memo to staffers. The shift means that VH1 is no longer a sister network to MTV, which it has been since the channel’s launch in 1985 (as “Video Hits One”).

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