PW is reporting that there have been massive layoffs at Viz Media — up to 60 people or 40 percent of the workforce have been laid off. PW quotes an official Viz statement:
VIZ Media is in the process of refining its focus, and is restructuring to adjust to changing industry and financial market realities. As part of the restructuring, the company had to refine its workforce by eliminating certain positions and making cuts in other areas. We are of course saddened by these departures and sincerely appreciate the hard work, passion and dedication of those that have moved on, but we feel confident that with these changes, VIZ Media will be more streamlined and able to withstand the climate of the economy at this time.
With the American manga market already in flux, this has to be seen as a body blow to the category as Viz was consistently the best selling American comics publisher, dominating the best seller charts with such mega-hits as Naruto and One Piece. But even those weren’t enough to stave off this huge restructuring. According to PW:
Viz Media, one of the leading publishers of manga in the U.S., announced a sweeping round of layoffs today that will affect every part of the company. Sources tell PW that as many as 55 people were laid off at Viz’s San Francisco headquarters and it appears its small New York office, which had about 5 staffers, has been closed. The number of staff released represents about 40% of the employees at Viz Media.
We’re working on finding out some of the people let go. Developing.