IDW, generally considered the fifth-largest comic book publisher, has laid off 39% of its workforce this week. Editorial has also been gutted, and “half” remain. This move was done in an effort to “preserve capital, and put the Company in the strongest position possible to unlock value from its assets, including its intellectual property and ability to generate new intellectual property,” said IDW.
Hardest hit are the marketing and PR teams, which have been completely eliminated, according to ComicsBeat. Alongside the layoffs, IDW delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and reorganized its C-suite, including instating a Davidi Jonas as the new CEO and letting go of the CFO among other shifts. The move comes after a disappointing first quarter for the company, which saw a 44% difference in revenue (11.8 million to 6.6 million) from the first quarter of 2022, mostly because there was no “meaningful revenue” from IDW Entertainment in this first quarter. IDWE was responsible for video franchising, including shows like Locke & Key and Wynona Earp.
This isn’t the first time that IDW has struggled in recent years. In the middle of 2020, as the pandemic affected multiple industries, they had a round of layoffs that deeply affected editorial. Many of those laid off by IDW at that time went on to found their own indie comic publishers, including Opus Comics, Clover Press and Syzygy Publishing, according to BleedingCool.
It is a bleak day for comics publishers when a lack of franchise deals, games revenue, and a dearth of television money means that less people will be employed at the subsection of the company that facilitates and encourages original art and comics. BleedingCool also reports that many of the editorial staff laid off in 2020 were “quickly” picked up by competitors. Hopefully the same happens this year.
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