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Creative planet changes focus, lays off 30

Will concentrate on film tech/production resources for Web

Only days after announcing a $38 million round of financing, Creative Planet has laid off 30 employees across the board as it focuses on developing more film technology and production resources for the Web.

Those affected by the layoffs were mostly affiliated with the dot-com’s editorial operations — namely, news sites such as TVIndustry.com and MediaTechnology.com. The more production-oriented VFXPro.com and CinematographyWorld.com, among others, will continue to operate as usual.

An additional five employees were laid off last week in the company’s other divisions. Creative Planet has roughly 300 staffers.

Besides four weeks of severance pay, pinkslipped employees are being offered office space, complete with desks, phones, voice mail and computers, in what is being called an “outplacement station” above Disney’s El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard for the next two to three weeks to find jobs.

Site, for which Creative Planet maintains a costly long-term lease, was the former location of Studio System database creator Brookfield Communications, which Creative Planet acquired last year. Company’s staffers have since moved into Creative Planet’s current offices on Wilshire Boulevard.

“We’re doing everything we can to help these people,” Creative Planet chairman and CEO Allen DeBevoise told Daily Variety. “We’ve gone way out of our way to help them find new jobs. This is clearly no fault of theirs. Everybody was very good.

“We’re just trying to focus our business on the more traditional b-to-b side and less on editorial news. That’s already well done by our competitors. There’s no point in us doing that. Our focus is on services that benefit the production management and procurement sides,” he said.

Since its bow and aggressive buying spree of online and offline film and television industry resources, Creative Planet has been continuously changing its image, going from a series of Web sites to a portal for a myriad of services to its current incarnation, offering production tools centered around two expanded products for film and TV producers, Movie Magic and Studio System.

Company also owns and operates script service GoodStory.com, advertising and musicvid resource the Source Maythenyi and Columbus Entertainment.

Even with the cutbacks, Creative Planet is looking to hire an additional 80-90 mostly tech-oriented employees in the coming months to build new software products and databases. New hires were alluded to earlier this week (Daily Variety, Aug. 8).

“This is it,” DeBevoise stressed. “We don’t look forward to any more layoffs.”

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