Powerful Hollywood Execs Panicking Among Budget Cuts, Streaming Losses, and Streaming Losses

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Apr 13, 2024

The top dogs of Hollywood are feeling the pressure of strikes, budget cuts, and the plague of layoffs. The decline in cable subscriptions, lower TV advertising revenues, and streaming losses mean Hollywood executives are facing the chopping block.

Now, laid-off executives are warning that the entertainment industry will inevitably face long-term unemployment for several reasons.

Layoffs Are the Norm Right Now

If you have been following entertainment news, you know that layoffs have been a norm in the industry over the last few years.

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While most of the layoffs have been for employees who worked for companies like ACM Networks, HBO, and Turner Classic Movies, executives have felt the pressure building as everyone–including massive companies like Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount–struggle to settle their swelling debts.

Job Opportunities in Hollywood Are Limited

With many out of the job, people who are looking for work in the entertainment industry find themselves with extremely limited options. Job opportunities have dwindled, with some jobs no longer existing thanks to streaming.

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As the industry undergoes extreme transformation, many laid-off Hollywood executives wonder, “What’s next?”

The Pay Has Significantly Dropped

“The upper-upper-level executives will be fine,” the former top TV executive said to Deadline. “Presidents used to make $4 million-$6 million a year, now they will make $2.5 million-$3 million. Middle-level executives were making $250,000-$750,000. All will now be reduced.”

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The TV executive continued: “With fewer jobs and more demand, the companies can get away with that. An executive who made $500,000 in their last job would now be willing to take a $350,000 offer. That’s what the contraction is doing.”

The Entertainment Industry Is in a “Full-Scale Depression”

While the U.S. might be teetering on the edge of a recession, the entertainment industry is in a “full-scale depression” and a “worst-case scenario,” according to industry insiders.

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A TV executive stated, ‘The entertainment industry is experiencing a full-scale depression.”

What Caused This?

This ‘depression era’ of Hollywood arises as the industry grapples with cost-cutting measures, recuperating from the aftermath of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, as well as the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) managed to avert another strike with IASTE Local 600.

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Major studios are unhesitant in terminating jobs, shows, and more as they strive to recover from box office failures and the burst of the streaming bubble.

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Laid-Off Executives Struggle

Laid-off executives are facing a daunting and frustrating landscape as they fight hundreds of others for a job opportunity. Silence and rejection have become the expected for these once sought-after executives.

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Now, platforms like LinkedIn have become a “therapy site for unemployed entertainment executives” needing to share their frustrations over the lack of opportunities in Hollywood (via Deadline).

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Executives Are Desperate for Their Next Gig 

The Hollywood landscape’s transformation has significantly affected legal and marketing executives, with development executives closely following suit. Now, these professionals are seeking assistance from headhunters to secure their next job opportunity.

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“I have certainly an influx of executives that reach out and say, they’re looking for their next [job],” said top Hollywood executive recruiter Jamie Waldron, Senior Partner, Global Head of Sports, Media + Entertainment, at Modern Executive Solutions (via Deadline).

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Even Good Executives Can’t Find Work

Most executives are facing a major change in lifestyles as their salaries with bonuses, stocks, and other perks are no longer available. They meet with people like Waldron with worry that they won’t be able to find similar work soon.

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Waldron added, “There is no doubt a contraction. It just makes it tough in the short term, I feel like, with a lot of good executives. I can’t meet everybody that wants to talk about their impending unemployment or recent layoffs.”

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Everyone Is Suffering in Hollywood

During the strikes, Waldron notes that writers, actors, and executives were in a similar position of not being able to pay their bills and continuing to live in Hollywood to push their careers forward.

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Waldron said, “What was kind of lost in the story was executives were doing the same thing, executives that were laid off were losing their houses and the private school tuition for their kids, and those jobs didn’t come back because either the contraction of the industry, or they’re waiting for them to come back.”

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Some Jobs Just Don’t Exist Anymore

You’re not alone if you haven’t heard back from that job you applied for a few weeks ago. Hundreds of laid-off executives have sent hundreds of applications with no responses.

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Executives might never regain their jobs as streaming services recognize dwindling viewership of original content and declare the death of the golden era of TV.

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The Future of Jobs in Hollywood

With all of these changes happening, many are turning to networking, consulting, and part-time work to help pay their bills. While some executives are waiting eagerly for their jobs to return, there is a lot of uncertainty about whether or not these jobs will return.

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Another former TV executive told Deadline, “The morale is low. People feel overworked and under-appreciated and those who were there for the heyday of the industry feel like the glory days, the fun and glamor of showbiz, are no longer there.”

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