Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. announced Dec. 10, 2003 that it is essentially stopping TV and movie production with the departure of entertainment group ceo Peter Sussman and Seaton McLean, the group's president, production. The company will hone its activities down to primarily specialty channel broadcasting and TV/film distribution.
While the results of the review will not be completed until the end of 2003, Alliance is scaling down the production division, cutting 60-70 positions its 150 entertainment staffers in the coming days and will close some of its offices. Alliance (www.allianceatlantis.com) has offices in Los Angeles, Edmonton and Shannon, Ireland but most of the jobs are expected to be cut at the Toronto office.
The CSI franchise, (CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION and CSI: MIAMI) which Alliance Atlantis co-owns and co-produces with CBS Prods. will not be affected in any way.
The company is reviewing its entertainment group, In response to what we believe is a permanent downturn in domestic and international demand for prime time television series, movies of the week and miniseries as well as 'art house' theatrical motion picture productions, all of which have represented a sizable portion of our production activities in the past," said sevp/cfo Judson Martin.
The review is examining the future of certain television and motion picture production and distribution activities. The review does not affect the broadcast or motion picture distribution groups, or the movie distribution income fund. Alliance will disclose the detailed financial impact of this review in early in early 2004.
Chairman/ceo Michael MacMillan announced with regret that, "Given the long history that we have shared in building this company, this was a very difficult decision. I am pleased to say that both Peter and Seaton have offered their unqualified support that this overall refocusing and redirection of the Entertainment Group is the right thing to do and in line with the company's strategy for the future. Peter and Seaton have each made enormous contributions to the growth and development of Alliance Atlantis for many years, and I am personally very grateful to both of them. I am also pleased that they have each agreed to assist in ensuring an effective transition in the short-term and providing consulting services as required in the future."
MacMillan added, "This is the next logical step in our clearly articulated strategy of reducing our financial and operational exposure to the production business and focusing on the abundant growth opportunities in the broadcast and motion picture distribution sectors.