DoubleClick Cuts Media Staff

Leading online advertising company DoubleClick Inc. cut some of its media staff yesterday, reportedly due to the sharp downturn in the ad market.

The news should not take anyone by surprise. Last week the company posted a wider third quarter net loss, and revenues fell 31%. CEO Kevin Ryan said the company could obtain profitability next year through stringent cost cutting, including layoffs during the fourth quarter.

According to company spokesperson Jennifer Blum, the layoffs in no way support rumors that the division is in danger of closing altogether. In fact, she said, the structure of the business is not at all impacted by the layoffs and the company's relationships with advertisers and publishers will not change.

Blum explained that the media group, one of the company’s five strategic business units, employed about 90 people, and all jobs that were eliminated yesterday were support positions. She declined to give the exact number of layoffs, but said it is not significant.

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The company’s official statement read: "As we stated on last week's earning call, DoubleClick plans to be profitable for the full-year of 2002. In line with that commitment, we stated that we were going to be taking steps to cut expenses and to run our businesses more efficiently. The steps we took yesterday in our media division are absolutely in line with that commitment. As a result, we have greatly increased the percentage of people associated with increasing revenue in that division."

DoubleClick is the latest addition to the list of networks that have tweaked their media businesses to focus on the technology side of online advertising. In late August, Engage, Inc., one of DoubleClick’s closest competitors, entered into discussions with potential buyers for its media business, and eliminated approximately 100 media-related jobs.

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