Netcasters Pseudo, Beatnik cut staff

Services cut too, business plans streamlined

The dot com-uppance continued on Friday with Netcasters Pseudo Programs and Beatnik announcing substantial staff cutbacks and realignments of their business plans.

Gotham-based Pseudo on Friday laid off 58 of its employees, or roughly a quarter of its total staff, amid a plan hatched by the company’s new CEO, David Bohrman, to streamline the amount of programming it offers and change the manner in which it is broadcast.

Pseudo will replace the 10 channels of interactive streaming programming it currently offers with a single channel called Pseudo Center, which will run from noon until midnight, Mondays through Fridays, according to senior VP Jeanne Meyer.

Pseudo’s original channel lineup “was largely disjointed. It was going to be a difficult exercise to brand and market all those channels,” she said. “Now we’re really only supporting one brand.”

20 laid off

Beatnik, a digital music and technology provider founded by pop star Thomas Dolby Robertson, laid off 20 employees on Friday, representing a loss of 17% of Beatnik’s workforce.

In addition, the company said it plans to streamline its business plan to focus on selling proprietary technologies to Web site and wireless companies.

Last month San Mateo-based Beatnik received $30 million in financing. One hundred employees remain with the company.

Meyer insists that the layoffs at Pseudo came not in response to any immediate financial threat, but because of efforts to revamp the longer-term programming strategy at the company.

“You can’t really paint us with the same brush as some of the other folks that have gone up in flames lately,” she said. “They’ve mainly been creating Hollywood- or television-scale programming and putting it on the ‘Net. There’s nothing interactive about that.”

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