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Warner Bros. Shuts Down Online Unit

It's a day of closings for the interactive units of certain media properties. Warner Bros., in an effort to slash its costs, is shutting down its online division, among the first ventures backed by a major studio to create original content on the Web. Warner Bros. Online is the latest victim of cost-cutting measures begun by the studio one year ago. As a result, 19 employees from its online unit will be laid off, and 40 people will be moved over to the studio's Digital Distribution units, or into other groups dedicated to emerging technologies. President Kevin Tsujihara tried to place a positive spin on the proceedings: "It's not really an elimination of what online has done or did do," he said. "It's really more of a realignment of and redeployment of people." Warner Bros. declined to mention how much the studio would save by dissolving the online unit, but Warner Bros. Online was always somewhat marginalized by the Time Warner-AOL merger; its resources and ambitions seemed to diminish steadily since the 2001 merger. Warner Bros.' Internet content will now be produced under the studio's TV and movie units.



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