Amazon’s Audible unit lays off about 5% of staff

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The Audible application is displayed on a smartphone in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia, on May 21, 2020.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon‘s Audible division is cutting approximately 5% of its staff in an effort to position the unit “for continued success,” the executive overseeing the division told employees Thursday.

The announced cuts follow the layoffs on Wednesday of hundreds of employees in Amazon’s Prime Video, MGM Studios and Twitch livestreaming units.

“We did not take this route without considerable thought,” Audible CEO Bob Carrigan wrote in a memo to staffers that was viewed by CNBC. “But getting 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.”

Business Insider reported on the cuts earlier.

Amazon acquired Audible, which hosts audiobooks and podcasts, in 2008 for roughly $300 million. The unit has remained largely independent since the deal but is not immune to broader cuts underway at its parent. Beginning at the end of 2022 and continuing through 2023, Amazon initiated the largest layoffs in its history, cutting more than 27,000 jobs across almost every area of the company.

Representatives from Audible didn’t respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Here’s the full memo from Carrigan:

All,

Today I have some difficult news to share with you. As we begin a new year, we’ve made the tough decision to reduce roles within our organization.

I want to acknowledge the strong year we had in 2023, in which we delivered amazing listening experiences for our customers thanks to outstanding collaboration with creators and partners. Our business is in good shape, and that is because of the hard work of each and every one of you. However, to position us for continued success in the coming year and into the future, given the increasingly challenging landscape we face, we have to take this difficult decision now. As a company driven by our People Principles and in particular Activate Caring, we did not take this route without considerable thought. But getting 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.

A big part of what makes working at Audible so special is our many talented and dedicated employees who bring their passion to work each and every day. It’s also what makes it even harder to say goodbye to people we care about.

Approximately five percent of our workforce is impacted by this reduction. Those employees have already received a meeting invite for a conversation with their HR business partners and team leaders.

I recognize the impact this will have on those transitioning out of Audible as well as all of you who remain. Thanks to all who are leaving us for their valuable contributions. Please be assured we will be supporting our departing colleagues as they look for their next opportunity. This is a hard moment, and many of you understandably feel uncertainty about the future. I want you to know that we’re making these decisions to strengthen our business for the long term.

We are well positioned to continue our momentum and sustain the global growth that will keep us the leader in audio storytelling. I will be sharing more about the road ahead, and answering your questions, at January’s Global Allofus meeting.

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