Disney-owned network Maker Studios is set to dramatically decrease the number of channels it represents.
Maker has announced plans to downsize to represent only a core group of 300 creators in a staggered release starting 27 March 2017, in order to focus on higher-tier influencers.
Many creators in the Maker Studios network were informed of the changes in an email on 6 March. It read: “We have come to the decision to release you from your Maker Studios network contract, effective between March 27 and March 31 2017. […] As the creator space has evolved over the past few years, we concluded that we have outgrown our original model of multiple tiers of service and that we should move towards a more targeted approach to creator relationships.”
— Adam Greenwood (@AdamYT) March 6, 2017
The email stated that all channels owned by released creators in the network will be returned, and that any AdSense revenue associated with their channels will no longer go to Maker Studios and will need to be activated directly with YouTube.
“Effective immediately, you are free to conduct brand deals related to your channels and content on your own or with the support of your independent team,” the email read. “Any exclusivity requirements tied to your relationship with Maker Studios no longer apply.”
So @MakerStudios dropped my channel, am i bothered? not really in the whole time I was with them I got no help at all
— Scottish Geeks (@Scottishgeeks) March 6, 2017
Along with these changes, Maker is also set to conduct another round of staff layoffs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The most recent round of redundancies was last July, when roughly 30 employees were laid off. The current job losses follow on from this past December, when Disney folded Maker into a different division of its Consumer Products and Interactive Media department, causing executive Courtney Holt to step down from the company and take a new role within Disney.
— Craig Baxter (@TheChazmR) March 6, 2017
The changes represent Disney’s continued struggles with their acquired Maker Studios. According to The Wall Street Journal, the studio has not managed to turn a profit since Disney’s acquisition, despite earning $300m in revenue in 2016.
Updated 9.36pm, 6 March 2017