Bluetorch lights pinkslips

Cyberbiz Brief

The latest digital-media company to downsize is Bluetorch, an extreme-sports effort from the Broadband Interactive Group.

On Monday, the company pinkslipped 64 employees, primarily from print and Web production departments. Sales, marketing and finance positions were also affected. Before the layoffs, the company said it had around 140 staffers.

Bluetorch’s cross-media network originally operated in four areas, with a daily one-hour TV show (“Bluetorch TV” on Fox Sports Net), an Internet portal (www.bluetorch.com), print magazines and a live-events division.

According to the company, Bluetorch’s Web site will be scaled back but will continue to support the TV show. Live events will also continue. However, Bluetorch killed all of its print titles, including Wave Action, Pit Bodyboard, Wakeboard and MX Rage, effective this past Sunday. Skate and Swerve, two magazines the company planned to release later this year, will also be dropped.

BIG said that the layoffs were a result of a refocusing of Bluetorch’s business plan. Its growing TV and Interactive TV endeavors are being viewed as a quicker path to profitability than Web site and free print magazines. BIG has a strong affiliation with set-top box manufacturer Broadcom. BIG is repped by Endeavor.

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