Pottermore has confirmed that there has been a "small number of redundancies" at the Harry Potter website as part of a shift in strategy.
Quoting one former member of staff anonymously, Buzzfeed reported that the ‘bulk’ of editorial staff at Pottermore had been let go. But Pottermore declined to be drawn on the details, but said that it had "exciting" plans ahead for the site.
A statement put out by the company read: "Right now, we are working on some exciting new initiatives with Warner Bros. and our franchise partners, which will bring compelling digital experiences to global fans of J K Rowling’s Wizarding World. As a result, there have been a small number of redundancies within Pottermore. We are sorry to say goodbye to those affected but looking forward to sharing our new plans soon."
When approached for clarification, the company said that the redundancies were a consequence of a change of strategy which would be unveiled later this year. They added that the "exciting new strategy" was a priority for the franchise and one that would see increased investment in coming years. The company denied that there was any prospect of the site closing.
It is not the first time Pottermore has shifted focus. First launched in 2012 as a gaming/community site, in 2015 it relaunched under its then c.e.o. Susan Jurevics, refocusing on using the site as a news and reference vehicle supporting the Harry Potter brand and new iterations of the story such as The Cursed Child and the Fantastic Beasts films. But it has also produced a range of new editorial products, including enhanced editions of the Harry Potter series, new standalone content, and new audio titles. Earlier this week it launched a new audiobook, Quidditch Through the Ages read by Andrew Lincoln.
Pottermore also sells the Harry Potter digital content, including e-books and audio versions of the original series, and a range of other merchandise. Pottermore's last reported accounts, to 31st March 2017, showed sales more than doubled to £40.3m, but the company said that with its turnover dependent on new product it did not expect to grow in the financial next year. It employed 51 people during the year, up from 39. The new Fantastic Beasts film "The Crimes of Grindelwald" will be released later this year.