Digital content development studios Revision3 and 60 Frames have had to cut staff in the face of dwindling budgets (and likely demand) for their shows. Meanwhile, blog network Sugar and MP3-subscription service eMusic felt the economic sting as well. Lastly, Inform Technologies is also on the layoffs list, a notable addition because it powers the content linking and discovery features of various online publications (including The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO) and CNN), a signal that the larger companies’ cost-cutting measures are starting to impact fringe players that provide them with extra services.
– eMusic : Music subscription service eMusic is laying off about 10 percent of its staff, MediaMemo reports. eMusic is bracing for tough economic times ahead, particularly as its partners (larger music and electronics distributors like Best Buy) are finding it harder to sell the products that the company’s MP3 subscriptions come bundled in. The company is still on the hunt for a new CEO, as David Pakman, who’s been CEO since 2004, announced his resignation about a month ago. While Pakman will stick around through the end of the year, this latest news may make it harder to attract his replacement.
— Revision3 : SF-based online video studio Revision3 has canceled production on three shows, ended distribution deals on another two, and is laying off an unspecified number of employees as a result. The studio raised $9 million in funding since it launched back in 2006, and lured Jim Louderback away from his gig as editor-in-chief of PC Magazine in 2007. In a company blog post, Louderback spun both the production cuts and layoffs as par for the course for a new media startup, but also said that they company had to make changes when shows “just weren’t building audiences or driving revenue.”
— 60Frames Entertainment : Beverly Hills, Calif.-based 60Frames Entertainment has laid off six employees, or about 40 percent of its workforce. The digital entertainment studio announced a number of deals over the summer, including one to produce print- and Web-based coming books with Oni Press, and a content development deal with NBCU (NYSE: GE), but The Hollywood Reporter says the job cuts won’t affect the output. The brainchild of execs from talent agency UTA and Web-based TV ad company SpotRunner, 60Frames launched in July 2007, with $3.5 million from Tudor Investment Corporation and the Pilot Group. It’s the latest — though likely not the last — video startup to cut staff as a result of the economic climate, including Heavy.com, ManiaTV and Veoh.
— Sugar : Sugar’s not so sweet anymore, as the blog network had to cut 9 employees amidst poor ad sales. Sugar rolled out two new sites this fall and opened up both its blog platform and e-commerce API to outside users, but the initiatives have seemingly not been as successful as they’d hoped. CEO and cofounder Brian Sugar said more layoffs will come if the numbers don’t improve over the coming two quarters, per Valleywag; which begs the question of whether Sugar’s shift away from having strategic investor NBCU handle its sales this summer was such a good idea.
— Inform Technologies : Inform Technologies‘ page-view boosting technology has been helping publishers like Conde Nast make more money from their Websites, but with those same publishers cutting budgets across the board, the trickle down effect was almost inevitable. Thus the NY-based company has had to lay off 20 staff, per ClickZ. Inform secured $15 million in a second round of funding this January, and CTO Joe Einhorn said the company is “fundamentally sound,” but what happens if its partners continue to trim their own budgets?