NBCi Lays off 150; Sees Revenue Shortfall

NBCi (the portal prodigy of the broadcasting company) Thursday eliminated 150 positions to offset a revenue shortfall and reach its goals of profitability for 2001.

The San Francisco-based NBCi, which employs some 635, also has a major presence in Silicon Alley.

By reducing one-third of its workforce, NBCi CEO Will Lansing anticipates the company will meet its revenue projections by the third quarter of this year. The company had projected $150 million revenues for 2001 but has now reset the figure to $100 million.

“We are determined to reach profitability within the same time frame we reported at the end of the third quarter 2000,” Lansing said. “But, to reach this goal, we needed to make difficult decisions on the operational side of our business to account for the challenges within the online advertising market.”

Staff positions are being eliminated within all areas of the company.

Lansing’s statements contradict an earnings statement released by the company last October. At that time NBCi said it expected to become profitable by the first quarter of 2002, which was sooner than what had been expected.

The company noted that it was becoming profitable sooner because of plans to merge its AllBusiness.com Web site with Bigvine Inc., because it was scaling back international operations and because it had eliminated some jobs.

“The decision to eliminate positions is part of a strategy to bring costs in line with revenues without moving profitability out,” said NBCi spokesman Roger Maes. “Profitability has always been important to us.”

He added that business for the company will continue as usual. “The most important thing we offer is our product,” Maes said. “We will continue with our fundamental offerings and will seek added functionality.”

NBCi is the latest media company to take a hit. Yesterday cable news channel CNN announced it would lay off 400 employees. Meanwhile News Corp. pulled the plug on its Digital Media Division while the New York Times Co. and Knight-Ridder have had layoffs in their Internet businesses.

At press time, NBCi stock was trading at $4.00, down 4.48 percent from its opening price.

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