Through a combination of layoffs, buyouts and attrition, the net reductions are understood to have affected a few dozen employees. The cuts are not a corporate initiative and have been carried out at the discretion of individual department heads.
CBS declined to comment.
While certain legacy aspects of all TV network operations — including the fading syndication arena — are under pressure, parts of CBS are on a growth curve. Stand-alone OTT service CBS All Access has already hit 2 million subscribers and is filling its pipeline with original programming. Executives on the company’s recent earnings call said cord-cutting represented not a threat, but a new revenue opportunity.
Syndication, while historically a massive cash generator, has retreated in recent years as viewers once compelled by daytime fare are lured away by other options, especially digital ones. Original productions distributed by CBS such as Judge Judy and Dr. Phil still draw a reliable viewership, but newer hits industry-wide are far fewer in number than they were during the high-flying 1990s. Off-network syndication has also been disrupted by the rise of SVOD services and fewer gold-plated hits cycling into later life stages on air.