Coronavirus Updates: Netflix Buys Egyptian Theatre for Post-Pandemic Premiers; TrueCar Lays Off Staff

Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.

Today:

  • Facing twin threats, TrueCar lays off 40 percent of staff
  • Netflix buys Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre to stage post-pandemic events, movie premieres


Facing twin threats, TrueCar lays off 40 percent of staff

Santa-Monice based TrueCar laid off 219 employees Thursday, which represents 40 percent of its workforce. The cuts are partly a reaction to Covid-19 and fewer people buying cars. They are also a response to the loss of a crucial partnership with USAA that expires at the end of September. That deal accounted for 29% of cars sold last year.

The cuts will save TrueCar $35 million a year, according to an analyst note from JMP Securities.

While TrueCar would seem to benefit from car shoppers wanting to have less face-to-face contact at dealerships, the company is not immune from the large pressures the industry is facing. With that said, auto sales have bounced back more quickly than analysts anticipated.

"With website traffic and purchase intent returning to pre-COVID-19 levels for the last two weeks of April and these trends continuing into May (and likely June), auto's recovery has surprised us," wrote Andrew Boone, vice-president at JMP Securities.

Netflix buys Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre to stage post-pandemic events, movie premieres 

upload.wikimedia.org

Netflix, which has become one of the biggest content hubs during the pandemic, is planning on a time when moviegoers can return to the cinema. Particularly the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, which the streamer just bought. The Los Angeles Times reports that Netflix closed a deal to buy and renovate the theater for an undisclosed sum from American Cinematheque, an L.A. nonprofit that owns the venue.

Closing the deal, which reportedly was worth in the tens of millions of dollars, sets up Netflix to hold movie premieres and other events at the Egyptian. Netflix also gets an opportunity to show off some of the company's more cinematic fare at a high-profile theater, thereby setting them up for awards contention before those films start streaming. The company bought New York's iconic Paris Theatre in 2019, Manhattan's last single-screen movie palace.

"Love for film is inseparable from L.A.'s history and identity," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "We are working toward the day when audiences can return to theaters — and this extraordinary partnership will preserve an important piece of our cultural heritage that can be shared for years to come."


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