Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) will cut loose up to 30% of its advertising sales force, The Information reports – not a great sign for those observing the twin spirals of ad spending cuts and recession.
WBD stock is down 1.4% after hours.
The company will offer buyouts to those on its U.S. ad sales team as soon as this week, as part of a plan to shrink the force, according to the report.
Those buyouts would combine with layoffs and natural attrition to cut nearly 1,000 jobs in time, from a global ad sales force that numbers about 3,000.
Hiring in ad sales had already been frozen at Warner Bros. Discovery, but the new move is one of the first truly big cost-cutting approaches that new boss David Zaslav has taken on since the combination of Discovery with WarnerMedia.
Red flags have been stacking up for the ad-facing parts of media. Ad giant Omnicom saw its rating downgraded at Edward Jones based on the slowdown; IHeartMedia and Lamar saw similar downgrades; and the digital ad purveyors all took a hit when Snap warned about heavy macro deterioration.