Tempers are flaring at Entertaindom.com as senior level execs and tech staffers at the Netcaster threaten a walkout and a blackout of the site.
They’re upset because parent Time Warner’s interest in Entertaindom has apparently waned as its marriage with America Online looms.
The weakened morale among employees is being blamed on TW’s decision to call off the planned spinoff of Entertaindom as a public stock. Furthermore, the amount of previously agreed-upon TW stock that Entertaindom employees will receive continues to drop.
Even top Entertaindom execs, including prexy and CEO Jim Moloshok and Jim Banister, risk seeing what they hoped were rich stock options whittled down.
By some accounts, Moloshok might even have become one of Warner Bros.’ richest execs had Entertaindom gone public — an eventuality that probably didn’t sit well with top brass at Time Warner.
But since hopes of an Entertaindom IPO have been dashed, a number of staffers, especially on the technology side, have begun mulling other prospects.
A senior technology officer for Entertaindom quit last week, and several others are considering a move to more attractive digital pastures.
Without considerable TW stock options, Entertaindom employees say they would feel slighted. After all, many have received lavish offers from other dot-com players.
Also hurting morale are management changes that have resulted in yet another exec in charge of the unit.
Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. senior veep of strategic planning and development, was tapped March 13 to lead Warner Bros. New Media, which oversees Warner Bros. Online (a movie marketing site) and Entertaindom (which creates original programming). He will also serve as the primary point man on integrating the company’s strategy with that of AOL.
With the appointment, Moloshok will report to Tsujihara, rather than directly to Time Warner Digital Media prexy Richard Bressler. Latter was shifted over from his post as Time Warner’s chief financial officer last year.
Tsujihara not only serves as someone inhouse to report to Warner Bros. studio brass but also as a fallback exec in case a slew of Entertaindom staffers do indeed opt to flee.
Of course, Tsujihara too could flee; he has yet to sign a contract with Warners.
Beyond the problems at Entertaindom, all activities at Time Warner Digital have frozen as the merger with AOL approaches.
And with Entertaindom’s future in doubt, plans for four more hubs (news, finance, sports and lifestyle) will likely be quashed once AOL takes over.
Time Warner Digital is consulting on its integration with AOL. Bressler is serving on an integration committee with TW and AOL execs.