RealTime IT News

Excite@Home Cuts Staff by 250

In a not entirely unexpected move, major cable broadband player Excite@Home Tuesday laid off 250 employees -- about 8 percent of its total complement of 3,000 -- citing a slowing online advertising market.

The cuts, focused primarily on its Internet media content business Excite Studios, include positions in advertising sales, finance, human resources and marketing. The company's core broadband access division, @Work unit and network operations team were not touched.

"What we're seeing here is a reduction to get our cost structure in line with our revenue expectations, especially in light of some of the market conditions," said Alison Bowman, spokeswoman for Excite@Home. "The death of the dot-coms is obviously going to impact our, as well as other, media businesses.

Bowman said the company will now focus its media efforts in the realm of broadband advertising -- with its audio and video capabilities as well as the ability to utilize sophisticated measurement techniques -- in an attempt to enhance its appeal to Fortune 500 companies.

"It is much more in line with what Fortune 500 companies are used to because it's such a rich medium," Bowman said. "There's a lot more flexibility in broadband advertising than there is in banner advertising."

Industry watchers have been anticipating layoffs since the company reduced its focus on narrowband and turned its attention to broadband services. That move came in September, at the same time Excite@Home Chief Executive George Bell said he would step down from his post. Bell said he would remain in the post through the end of 2001 while a suitable replacement was sought. The company has yet to find someone to fill Bell's shoes.

The company will report fourth-quarter results after the market closes Thursday. Analysts are expecting a loss of 9 cents per share.