March 12, 2009

Grover, Can You Spare A Dime? Sesame Workshop Lays Off 20% Of Employees

Sesame Workshop announced layoffs of 67 employees today, roughly 20 percent of the non-profit company's workforce. In a statement to the Financial Times, the Workshop said it was "not immune to the unprecedented challenges of today's economic environment," and that the company needed "to operate with fewer resources in order to achieve our strategic priorities."

The FT talks about investment portfolio losses, but I don't think Sesame Workshop has an endowment per se; instead, it funds itself mostly on an ongoing basis through merchandise licensing and product sales, which augment corporate, foundation, and government grants. Frankly, between retail, sponsorship, and philanthropy, it sounds like a race to the bottom right now.

And yet, there's no indication of the level of projected revenue drops, or any programs which don't fit into "strategic priorities." Is it really possible to produce the same shows with 20% fewer people? Something's gotta give.

Sesame Street workforce hit as downturn extends to toy town [ via dt reader jason, jen, and felix]

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