CBS Interactive Layoffs Attributed to Consolidation, Recession

The recession isn’t the only reason CBS Interactive has announced layoffs. After acquiring CNET earlier this year, the firm aims to reduce redundancies and better integrate divisions in the hopes of lowering operating costs.

It is unclear how many people will be let go, but some speculate CNET staffers are among those who have lost their jobs. CBS Interactive bought the company in May, which, in addition to the flagship CNET.com tech news site, brought along GameSpot.com, UrbanBaby, BNET, and TechRepublic.

CBS Interactive continues its integration process, which now calls for the further combination of several portions of the division into unified groups oriented around similar content,” said the company in a statement sent to ClickZ News. “This important move allows us to better align our premium content for our audiences and our advertisers, and also results in reduction in certain areas that are now duplicated in the new organization structure.”

According to an e-mail distributed to CBS Interactive employees and confirmed by ClickZ News, the company has recently signed advertising deals with AT&T, Bertolli, EA, Intel, GM, and Microsoft.

The company did not provide further detail on whether ad sales or marketing staff would be among those receiving pink slips. Among the changes confirmed by ClickZ is a new CBS Interactive Marketing group, to be led by marketing exec Mickey Wilson.

In addition, a new Business Development group, combining all partnerships, investments, and acquisitions activity will be headed by CBS Interactive VP, Strategy and Corporate Development Michael Marquez.

The firm will also consolidate its content properties under new umbrellas. A new Sports, Games, and Music group will be run by COO Steve Snyder. CNET VP Sales Operations Tom Jones will lead the sales team for the group, which will also include senior execs Rich Calacci, Jaci Hays, Jason Kint, Kevin Menard, Felix Miller, and Doug Schmidt.

The company will also fold its tech and news properties — CBSNews.com and CNET News.com — into one CBS Interactive News Group. The sites will share content and work together on stories.

The Entertainment group, home to TV.com, CBS.com, TheInsider.com, and the firm’s Audience Network, will now include CHOW and UrbanBaby. No specific changes to that group’s executive team were reported.

Although the changes were prompted in part by the rough economic environment, consolidation is key to the decision. “We believe these moves are necessary to continue building CBS Interactive into the most creative, most efficient, most profitable and fastest growing Internet company in the media business,” added the company in the statement.

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