Digital content firm streamlines programming unit

Broadband content producer Machinima announced layoffs Friday that will trim less than 10% of the company.

The cuts will impact about 20 of the company’s 200 employees, mostly in the programming department. No senior executives werer affected.

A spokeswoman for the company noted that Machinima will continue to make hires in some key areas including sales, marketing and product. On Thursday, the company announced the appointment of former Yahoo ad sales exec Debbie Menin as veep of partner development with broadcast nets and cablers.

News of the layoffs may have caught the industry by surprise given Machinima is widely considered to be the poster boy for the high-growth digital content biz. The company finished first in traffic in October among all multichannel networks operating in YouTube, according to Comscore, driving 35 million unique visitors.

Sources explained that the cuts affected programming because the company has learned to streamline its operations in that area, while the huge traffic growth it has generated online made it imperative for resouces to be reallocated to hiring sales execs capable of helping monetize the increase in inventory.

Machinima is also the only content company that counts Google among its investors. Google led a round of investors in May.

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