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Machinima Lays Off Most of Its Staff in Merger With Otter Media

posted on by Karen Ressler
81 out of about 100 employees laid off

Variety reported on Friday that Machinima has laid off 81 staff members from its team of around 100 employees. The Hollywood Reporter likewise reported on Friday that the media company is ceasing operations.

The layoffs reportedly took place two weeks ago, and the employees' termination date will be March 16, as per a California law that requires 60 days notice for mass layoffs.

AT&T folded Machinima into its digital media company Otter Media on January 1 as part of a larger restructuring that saw layoffs of about 10% of Otter Media's staff. All videos on the Machinima YouTube channel were recently set to private without advance notice.

According to Variety, several independent creators under Machinima have already been moved under the Fullscreen creator services team, and Machinima's premium-content team has joined Otter Media.

A representative of Otter Media told Variety that the brand still exists, and that "Otter has brought over valuable parts of the Machinima business that we believe amplify our focus on the gaming and anime community." A spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that "a select number of Machinima employees remain with the company, which is now actively providing services to supercharge the combined portfolio of Otter Media."

Machinima was founded as its own website in 2000 and was acquired by Warner Bros. Digital Networks in 2016. The company maintained a network that hosted content creators of video game and other fandom programming, such as the Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist and Street Fighter V: Resurrection series.

AT&T announced in August that it had acquired the entirety of Otter Media from its previous co-owner The Chernin Group. AT&T announced at the time that it planned to fold the company into WarnerMedia, the new content company created after AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner in June.

Since the acquisition, WarnerMedia closed the DramaFever streaming service on October 16, resulting in layoffs for 20% of the company's 110 employees. WarnerMedia also closed the FilmStruck streaming service on November 29.

Source: Variety (Todd Spangler), The Hollywood Reporter (Patrick Shanley)

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