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Warner Music Group Lays Off 400, Creates Video Division

8 May, 2007 By: Jessica Wolf

As Warner Music Group struggles to reinvent itself in a troubled and changing music market, the company announced it will cut 400 jobs in a “strategic realignment” that will allow the company to shift to digital initiatives.

One such initiative is a new original programming division called Den of Thieves, which the group hopes will give its artist roster a boost in a market of declining CD sales.

Den of Thieves is designed to create music-based original video programs to be released anywhere and everywhere, including network TV, cable, on DVD, broadband digital delivery and for mobile devices.

Music and television industry veterans Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager will head up the new division alongside executives from WMG's U.S. Recorded Music Division including Lyor Cohen, Craig Kallman, Julie Greenwald and Tom Whalley.

Den of Thieves will work closely with WMG's record labels, which includes Atlantic Records Group and Rhino Entertainment.

Den of Thieves is charged with creating content for distribution around its artists' releases and special projects. The division also will explore original programming and opportunities from other labels and entities in effort to broaden the scope of content created by WMG and its labels, according to the company.

“Identifying new creative outlets for our artists has been a key part of the Warner Bros.' strategy,” said Tom Whalley, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Records, said in a statement.

Atlantic Records president Julie Greenwald said Den of Thieves will be a way to broaden the reach of artists and expand the range of content the label can produce.

The company announced the new division the day before reporting fairly dismal fiscal second quarter results for the period ended March 31.

Warner reported a $27 million loss for the quarter, compared to a $7 million loss the prior year. Revenue declined 2% for the quarter to $784 million.

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