When Disney announced last week that it was parting ways with YouTube personality Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (PewDiePie), it meant the Internet personality would no longer be backed by its Maker Studios division.
As it turns out, PewDiePie was just the first casualty of what’s to be a major scaling back of support for YouTube content creators.
A source familiar with the matter tells The Wall Street Journal that Disney is laying off roughly 80 people and aims to reduce the number of YouTubers it supports through Maker Studios from more than 60,000 currently down to around only 300. Those said to be losing their jobs include both Maker employees and others that worked for the consumer products unit’s digital-publishing division, we’re told.
The insider notes that Disney only wants to back those with large followings that are family-friendly enough to work with its other divisions.
The move has reportedly been in the works long before last week’s PewDiePie incident.
Despite the initial shock, the reduction in support might not be as catastrophic to YouTube creators as it would seem. Former and current employees tell the publication that the vast majority of those participating in Maker Studios’ YouTube partner program have long made very little money.
Disney purchased Maker Studios in 2014 for $675 million.
Lead image via Bloomberg