paidContent has learned that Major League Baseball Advanced Media laid off 20 of its 400-plus staff today, roughly 3-4 percent, with original programming taking the biggest hit. At the same time, MLBAM head Bob Bowman told me the digital arm of Major League Baseball will reduce its prices for 2009. “We have a divided loyalty to our fans and to our employees … We need to do our level best for our fans and for the coming year, we have to lower our prices. To balance against that, if we’re going to lower price and revenue, we’re going to have to lower costs.” He expects prices to drop at least 20 percent but said the final numbers had yet to be decided. The standard monthly subscription was $14.95 this year; the minimum cut would take it to roughly $12.
Instead, Bowman said MLBAM will shift its priorities to what it does best and the fans’ number-one choice — live game coverage, not early-morning live programming. The live game day starts around 1 p.m.: “The focus will be on those 12 hours.”
Recently, after he appeared at our EconSports conference, I sat down with Bob Bowman and we chatted bout, among other things, site traffic, Tampa and those darn Sox. No hint then that this was coming. The video is embedded after the jump.