Warner Media, a subsidiary of AT&T, reportedly shut down popular multi-channel network Machinima and laid off all of the company’s 81 employees.
Machinima produced a web television series called Transformers: Combiners from Eric S. Calderon, George Krstic and F.J. DeSanto in association with Hasbro Studios. They would also create a number of other series including Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series, Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles and others.
Their YouTube channel which had over 12 million subscribers primarily focused their content on comic and gamer culture. Machinima had once claimed they reached 200 million unique views and had 2 billion video views monthly. The YouTube channel has been completely scrubbed with all of the videos removed from the platform.
A Machinima spokesperson revealed to Deadline that the company, which was obtained by Warner Bros. in 2016 and included into Warner Media’s Otter Media in 2019 ceased operations.
“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 has ceased its remaining operations, which includes layoffs. Russell Arons remains with Machinima, and is assisting with transitional activities as she explores new opportunities.”
Deadline indicates the 81 layoffs were confirmed via a California Employment Development Department WARN Report. The layoffs were enacted last week and will take effect on March 16th.
A spokesperson for Otter Media spoke to Kotaku about the future of Machinima indicating they will be creating “new content.”
“We are focused on creating new content with the Machinima team, which will be distributed on new channels to be announced in the coming months.
In the meantime the Machinima network of creator channels continues to showcase the talents of the network. As part of this focus on new content, we have pivoted from distributing content on a handful of legacy operated channels.”
Another spokesperson for Otter Media spoke to Variety indicating that Machinima isn’t completely shut down.
“Otter has brought over valuable parts of the Machinima business that we believe amplify our focus on the gaming and anime community.”
The layoffs at Machinima come as AT&T restructures much of its newly acquired Warner Bros. assets. Warner Media previously laid off around 10% of its Otter Media staff in December when they combined it with their Ellation division which includes Crunchyroll, VRV, and Rooster Teeth.
Warner Media also announced it was shutting down a number of its digital platforms including DramaFever and SuperDeluxe. They had also announced they would shut down FilmStruck, but after a signed letter from a number of Hollywood’s A-list including Leonardo DiCaprio, Rian Johnson, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaró, along with urging from Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, they decided to role the service into The Criterion Channel that is expected to launch sometime this spring.
Warner Media also announced lay offs at DC Entertainment which reports indicate 3% of the staff were issued walking papers as the company promised to go “back to its roots of delivering epic stories with our world-class characters, stories and brands.”
As noted by One Angry Gamer notes, Machinima didn’t have the cleanest track record, they were involved in the XB1M13 scandal and they were also the subject of an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for “deceptive advertising” in regards to the Xbox One.
What do you make of Machinima shutting down?