Viacom confirmed Thursdays layoffs at the teen-focused studio, reportedly 10% of the AwesomenessTV staff or about 20 people. CEO Jordan Levin departed last week.
“As we begin to integrate Awesomeness and streamline the organization within Viacom, a number of positions were impacted yesterday,” a Viacom spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline. “We are grateful for the many contributions of each individual and continue to work diligently to ensure a smooth transition.”
AwesomenessTV reaches about 158 million subscribers across its network, and boasts 300 million monthly views
Viacom pursued the acquisition, seeing the Gen-Z media company as filling the millennial-sized gap in its Nickelodeon and MTV audiences. AwesomenessTV was viewed as helping to accelerate Viacoms digital ambitions, under its Viacom Digital Studios.
AwesomenessTVs options were limited after Verizon decided to abandon its Go90 video service, source say. The wireless giant was once wildly enthusiastic about the digital media company, forking over $159 million for a one-quarter stake and signing a multiyear content deal worth around $150 million.
Fortunes for Awesomeness changed once Verizons board name Hans Vestberg as CEO — technologist who has been responsible for overseeing deployment of next-generation 5G mobile services. That signaled to investors that Verizon would not look to continue down the path of diversifying Verizons businesses by investing in digital content.
Once the cash from Go90 was gone, Awesomeness began considering its options, including its ultimate sale to Viacom. Most of the jobs lost in the restructuring came from eliminating centralized business functions, such as legal, finance and human resources, that were no longer needed, now that Awesomeness is part of a larger media organization.