eMadison Scaling Back
"We have made selected cutbacks in personnel and products," Robinson told MediaPost yesterday, when asked about rumors that eMadison, the Internet media buying services company, would fold.
Robinson declined to say how many employees would be laid off, but said the company would eliminate two of its three products. According to another company official, two thirds of the staff will be laid off, mostly on the development side.
"We had three products, spot TV, spot radio and network. We're going to concentrate on spot TV and not do anything with the others," Robinson says. "Radio is ready to go into beta, but we're not going to move forward with it."
"It's a tough climate to raise money and we're simply trying to conserve resources," he says. The company, founded in 1999 and launched last year with $12.9 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Sandler Capital, is presumably running out of money. It is now looking for new investors and partners. "We're talking to others about combining in some meaningful way," Robinson says, but he declined to say who the prospective partners are.
The company, based in Fremont, CA, with offices in New York, Dallas and Columbus, OH, tried to differentiate itself from the other online media buying firms BuyMedia.com, Broadcastspots.com and OneMediaPlace, which "try to sell inventory in package discounts," Robinson says. eMadison doesn't work as an online rep firm. It is an online forum for media buys, where buyers and sellers work together to complete the entire transaction online, from avail requests to acceptance of orders to issuing contracts to handling discrepancies.
The company hired a series of executives with backgrounds at CBS, Mediavest and other top media firms. It announced agreements with other vendors, including Video Communications and SeeItFirst.com, to integrate their technology into eMadison's system. It beta tested with advertising sellers and buyers, including KTXA-TV, Dallas and Zenith Media (Saatchi & Saatchi) and The Media Edge (Young & Rubicam).
But these moves haven't really worked, as the company is scaling back amidst financial difficulties. The spot TV service is still in operation. It is being used by agencies and stations, Robinson says, although he declined to name them. The Dallas market may be the only one where it is being used.
- Ken Liebeskind may be reached at email@example.com