Turner’s eclectic Super Deluxe entertainment studio, based in downtown Los Angeles, has shut down, it was reported Monday.
AT&T pulled the plug on the unconventional studio on Friday, ending a three-year digital media experiment to find new ways to reach audiences under 35, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Super Deluxe’s 54 full-time employees lost their jobs in the move, a knowledgeable person who requested anonymity told The Times.
The studio, which once staged a live telenovela that generated huge numbers on Facebook Live, had been on thin ice for much of this year. AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner dragged on for months, and it was never clear how the irreverent group of mostly millennial workers would fit into the phone company’s plans to become a home for premium content that viewers would watch on their cellphones and tablets, according to The Times.
AT&T has been analyzing WarnerMedia assets since spending $85 billion in June to buy the company. In addition, the Dallas-based company recently spent $600 million to acquire the Chernin Group’s stake in Otter Media, which also operates small content studios, such as Rooster Teeth. AT&T, which now has full control of Otter Media, appears to be focusing on the viability of those assets, while Turner’s boutique properties, such as Super Deluxe, have become more vulnerable, The Times reported.
“Turner is proud of the unique brand Super Deluxe has built over the past three years, and the cutting-edge content and innovations this incredible group of very talented people has made,” the company said in a statement. “However, there are now massive changes in the social and mobile-first ecosystem and duplication with other business units in our new WarnerMedia portfolio.”
Super Deluxe operated as an independent island, with little integration with other units of Turner, which operates CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.
Super Deluxe’s president, Wolfgang Hammer, informed employees that the business was being disbanded during a Friday morning meeting, according to people familiar with the situation, The Times reported. Terminated employees will receive about two months of severance.