Sesame Workshop trims 10 percent of workforce as financial losses mount

By Dru Sefton

Sesame Workshop, production home to the iconic pubTV children’s program Sesame Street, announced Tuesday that it is laying off 10 percent of its workforce, or about 30 positions.

The workshop’s most recent audited statements, for fiscal 2012, reflect a $24.3 million loss. That compares with a $10.8 million loss for the previous fiscal year and a $130,000 loss for FY10.

Cash on-hand also plunged over the past several years, from $50.5 million in FY10, to $29.1 million in FY11 and $10 million in FY12.

For FY12, Sesame Workshop was able to pare $9 million in expenses from year-to-year, largely from a reduction in production and development. That was not enough, though, to keep up with a $20.3 million drop in revenues, mainly from declines in program support and distribution fees and royalties.

In a statement Tuesday, the New York City-based workshop said it is  “constantly assessing where we must invest for the future in response to today’s rapidly changing digital environment.”

The statement said the cuts will allow the workshop to “strategically focus our resources.”

“We remain optimistic about our future and remain committed to our mission of helping children reach their highest potential here and around the globe,” it added.

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