The suits at Vudu are saying the things investors and subscribers would like to hear, but it’s hard to find much good in the news that the movies-on-demand outfit laid off something like 20% of its staff.
The company’s line is that the layoffs were “just a normal process” for a start-up, which has to adjust to market conditions in the early lifecycle.
National dealer channel manager Mark Donnigan has made the rounds of the tech sites, denying any internal crisis and pointing out that Vudu is aggressively rounding up high-definition films to feed its premium set-top box.
Only four months ago, the New York Times hailed the online movie service under the headline “Vudu Casts Its Spell in Hollywood.” Perhaps, the author wrote, the black box meant a “goodbye to laborious computer downloads, sticky-floored movie theaters and cable companies’ much narrower video-on-demand offerings.”
Chris Watts, formerly of eBay, has just come aboard as CFO, with his predecessor leaving for “personal reasons.” The layoffs were reported as 16 or 18 staffers out of 100. At the same time, the Vudu jobs page cites various positions “coming soon” and eight current jobs in marketing and sales.
Vudu slid into the porno business earlier this month, partnering with AVN for VOD sales of SD and HD movies from Vivid, Hustler and Wicked, the big-name creators of adult content. Some tech bloggers cited that move as one of desperation, but it seems more like giving the heavily male early adopters what they want.
The layoffs come a few weeks after movie-download service Vongo bit the dust.