Major US manga publisher Viz Media has confirmed that it will be sacking 40% of its workforce.
The cuts will see 55 people fired at its main San Francisco offices, and a further 5 terminated with the closure of its New york office, roughly 40% of the company’s total workforce.
Viz puts a brave face on the mass layoffs, saying it is “restructuring to adjust to changing industry and financial market realities,” and that it “had to refine its workforce by eliminating certain positions and making cuts in other areas.”
The company attempts to reassure fans it will not be cancelling their favourite manga: “We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away.”
In explaining the cuts, for once it seems a publisher is capable of acknowledging the effect of the business cycle rather than blaming the evils of technological change: “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.”
Recent years have seen dramatic reductions in the size of the US manga market, as well as poor performance in Japan, and both American and Japanese publishers have been keen to blame this on piracy rather than economic conditions or their own dying business model – staffing cuts would appear to be unavoidable in the circumstances.