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Amazon reportedly cuts staff in audiobook/podcast division

Amazon is laying off Audible employees.

The latest round of layoffs at Amazon is hitting its Audible audio content organization.

According to CNBC (following up on an original report in Business Insider), Amazon is reducing headcount in its Audible division, which produces the company’s audiobooks and podcasts, by 5%. Amazon has not publicly commented on the matter, but CNBC obtained a memo it said Audible CEO Bob Carrigan sent to his employees on Thursday, Jan. 11.

“(G)etting leaner, and more efficient, is the way we will need to operate now — and in the foreseeable future — in order to continue delivering best-in-class audio storytelling to our customers around the world,” Carrigan said in the memo.

In the memo, Carrigan also said that Audible had a “strong year” in 2023 and is in “good shape,” but Amazon needs to make these job cuts to position the company for success in what he termed an “increasingly challenging landscape.”

In addition, the memo stated that affected employees will meet with HR and management and receive support, although he did not specifically describe the resources they will receive. Amazon purchased Audible for about $300 million in 2008.

Amazon acquired Audible, which provides audiobooks and podcasts, for about $300 million in 2008. Read more CNBC coverage here.

Amazon ramps up layoffs

Amazon has been intensifying efforts to trim headcount as the e-tail giant faces a softening consumer marketplace. This includes job cuts at its Prime Video, MGM Studios and Twitch divisions announced earlier this week, as well as November 2023 reductions in its Alexa workforce, as well as an April 2023 decision to eliminate positions in its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing unit in the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica. 

In a March 2023 memo to employees, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company intends to eliminate about 9,000 workers. In the memo, Jassy explained that after hiring more than 450,000 people in the U.S. between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and September 2021, the company needs to reassess its staffing levels.

At the beginning of 2023, Amazon said it planned to eliminate just over 18,000 roles in 2023, with the majority of cuts in its Amazon Stores and PXT organizations. In November 2022, Amazon publicly announced it had decided to “consolidate” some teams and programs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices).

The company also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in its PXT organization. Other areas of its business where Amazon has reduced headcount include the Whole Foods Market specialty grocery chain.

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