ESPN parent company, Walt Disney, released its quarterly financials last night and let us know that the Magic Kingdom is as healthy as ever. Profits and revenues have both grown and the media division that includes ESPN rose 27% from the period last year. According to the NY Times, "Disney said the increase was primarily due to higher ESPN affiliate and ad revenues, partly offset by higher programming costs". Yet, as a Christmas present to 300 employees, they received their layoff packages.
ESPN and Disney are not suffering. In fact, their bottom line was never stronger. No the decision to fire 300 employees was to appease investors and not the business. I don't mean to suggest that Disney or other public companies need to be charity centers to their employees; but, couldn't ESPN do something else with these 300. Given the diversification of the empire, why couldn't these 300 be given internal opportunities to apply to other divisions within the company. They have already demonstrated a fit to the organization, many have provided multiple years of impressive service and their experience might be truly welcome as other lines of businesses seek sales, marketing, production and other types of support. I doubt that ESPN or Disney even considered that option.
So ESPN laid off 300 employees only to tell us that the company and brands are "stronger than ever". I just don't believe the two stories jibe. Thoughts?