Ziff Davis Media, the parent company for recently-acquired IGN, is doing a little corporate restructuring. Unfortunately, as is often the case, that means layoffs and a “trimming the fat” mentality for the entertainment news giants, as well as some of the smaller sites they are affiliated with. Ziff Davis Media also intends to close IGN subsidiaries 1UP, GameSpy, and UGO as part of the move.
In a recent internal memo from the CEO of Ziff Davis Media, Vivek Shan, the company offers some insight into where it plans on focusing future efforts. Specifically, the memo points out that the company wants to consolidate it’s energy solely on the two most popular brands: IGN and AskMen.
The entire memo can be read below. It includes a list of who will be taking over what responsibilities, but does not mention any names of IGN employees let go during the downsizing. However, thanks to his twitter handle @PwamCider, we do know that writer Ryan Clements is one of the few who have been let go.
“Today, we took some difficult but important actions that will ensure the continued growth and health of IGN and AskMen. Before I go into more details about the changes, you should know that they resulted in the elimination of jobs at IGN. It’s always upsetting to say goodbye to colleagues and let’s do what we can to help these employees as they seek new opportunities.
It’s also important for you to know that we are absolutely confident that we now have the best structure and team to successfully move the company forward and that there are no further planned reductions.
The changes we made today are designed to allow us to Simplify and Focus. Our goal is to do fewer things and to do them exceptionally well. In that vein, we want to direct all of our energy and work behind our two flagship brands: IGN and AskMen. They are both category killers and share a vision of a multi-screen (PCs, tablets, smartphones, TV) and multi-format (text, photos and video) world.
As a result of our decision to focus on our core brands, we are:
· Winding down 1UP.com, UGO.com and GameSpy.com;
· No longer ad repping 3rd party sites such as GameStop.com and FamilyGuy.com;
· Actively engaged with parties interested in acquiring IPL. IGN’s role going forward will be to broadcast and cover a variety of eSports events;
· Dividing our ad sales team into two: one focused on IGN and the other focused on AskMen.
On the IGN front, Peer Schneider will continue to oversee all of editorial and product, focusing those resources exclusively on IGN. The foundation of this entire company is its content and we will continue to have the best people in the industry producing it.
Charlie Barrett will oversee the monetization of IGN everywhere in the U.S. – PCs, tablets, smartphones, YouTube, consoles – and now be able to concentrate the sales and ad ops teams’ efforts where they can make the most impact.
Frank Puma will assume an exciting new role as executive director of programs and solutions, reporting to Charlie. The sales development, design and creative teams will report to Frank, whose charge is to deliver world-class advertising experiences.
A new head of engineering and technology for IGN will be recruited as quickly as possible. Tech has a monumental role to play in the growth of IGN and will be committed to working hand-in-glove with edit, product and sales.
On the AskMen front, Ric Poupada will continue to oversee all aspects of the AskMen organization and is excited to have a new VP of sales, Paul Chenier, reporting to him. Paul has been a longtime advocate of the AskMen brand and is one of the most talented sales executives in our organization. Having him build a dedicated AskMen ad sales team will do wonders for the business.
Ian Chambers will continue to run International out of the UK for both IGN and AskMen and we’re thrilled with the performance of our businesses overseas.
Mike Etheridge will be the VP of finance and operations for IGN and AskMen, working across all of the departments to ensure that we’re growing our business, expanding our margins and making metric-based decisions.
Rachelle Igoe will be the head of human resources for IGN and AskMen, ensuring that we continue to nurture, attract and retain the best talent in the industry.
I’m sure that there will be a number of questions in the days and weeks ahead but please know that we will be a better functioning and nimbler organization from this moment forward.”
It’s never easy seeing folks in this industry, or any other, get laid off. My condolences to those affected by the restructuring, I hope everyone manages to find a new home for their talents. It’s especially sad to see 1UP get shut down, I used to spend a lot of time getting all my gaming news from them, in addition to their fantastic editorials and podcasts. It’s hard enough trying to find a decent job in game journalism, let alone having to worry about job security. But, such is the nature of the wild world of online journalism. New media is constantly shifting as businesses attempt to discover the best way to capitalize and profit in the online news sector. t’s just a shame when quality talent gets caught in the crossfire as collateral damage.
What are your thoughts on the situation? Are any of you active on the 1UP or GameSpy sites? What about IGN’s downsizing? Were any of your favorite writers let go? Let us know in the comments below.