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Kids & Animation Content on the Chopping Block at Warner Bros. Discovery

Little Ellen
Little Ellen

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Kids & Animation Content on the Chopping Block at Warner Bros. Discovery

Following the news that the direct-to-streaming sequel to Scoob! had been axed from its feature slate, Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels confirmed on the company’s earnings call Thursday that live-action kids’ content and animation for both its streaming and linear networks will be cut as part of broader cost-cutting measures following the $43 billion AT&T/Discovery deal.

WBD is parent to the major kids’ animation players Cartoon Network, Boomerang and HBO Max.

The company reported a Q2 loss of more than $3.41 billlion, due to costs accrued from asset amortization, restructuring and expenses related to the merger. However, WBD studios reproted $2.79B in revenues (+3%), with TV networks bringing in $5.74B (+1%) — largely bolstered by increased sports advertising.

CEO David Zaslav shared in a statement that he believed the company’s strategy to continue investment in sports rights and content creation is “the right path to meet our strategic goals and really excel.”

HBO Max, HBO and Discover+ subscribers are up overall, reported at 92.1 million combined (+1.7M from Q1, +22% from previous year), but the company’s streamers are losing domestic subscribers, sitting at 53M (-300K from Q1).

Wiedenfels shared during the call that WBD is also cutting streaming movies, shuttering CNN+, nixing local content in international markets and restructuring its scripted portfolio for linear, as well as significantly stepping back content licensing as it focuses on HBO Max.

“This is, of course, an upside opportunity over time as we ramp initiatives back to a balanced level of monetization, depending on relative value contributions,” he asserted.

Yesterday, Deadline reported that Ellen DeGeneres’ preschool toon Little Ellen, which airs on the HBO Max/CN Cartoonito block, has been canceled ahead of its Season 3 premiere, which has been pushed back from its original June date.

From Cartoonito: Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Ellen Digital Ventures, Little Ellen is a 2D animated children’s show that explores the world through the eyes of a hilarious and unpredictable seven-year-old Ellen DeGeneres. On her adventures in her musical hometown of New Orleans, Little Ellen takes big risks and makes big mistakes, but she’s always able to laugh at herself and bounce back when things don’t go as planned.

[Sources: Deadline, Variety]

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