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Irina Slutsky Leaves PodTech

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Online video network PodTech, citing a shift in focus, let go of web video personality Irina Slutsky on Wednesday. Slutsky, who had been with PodTech for a year, had brought with her the web show Geek Entertainment TV, and had helped PodTech put on the red-carpet Vloggies awards event last year. She had represented PodTech to the vlogging community, signing some independent creators to PodTech production deals and developing new shows.

100880753_78f72bca8e_m.jpgHowever PodTech, which had recently been unsuccessful in seeking a second round of funding to add to the $5.5 million it raised in early 2006 from Venrock Associates and U.S. Venture Partners, is trying to batten down the hatches. PodTech had released GETV back to Slutsky and co-creator Eddie Codel earlier this year, laying off Codel as a full-time employee but letting him keep equipment to produce the show and contracting him to work on another show, LunchMeet. Slutsky had remained at the company to continue working on the Vloggies and other projects.

In an interview last week about the general status of PodTech, Furrier told NewTeeVee, “I had a vision that [GETV] could be a really great franchise. But it just didn’t click.” He said PodTech had 37 employees, with 20 percent of them focused on commissioned content from the companies’ customers, which include Intel, Symantec, and Seagate. Other revenue streams include sponsorship of editorial content and providing video tools and hosting for companies such as the San Jose Mercury News.

Of trying to raise new funding, Furrier complained, “Everyone’s elephant hunting, but they don’t know what they’re looking for. I think a lot of people don’t really understand what PodTech’s doing.” He attested — this was a week ago — that PodTech could be cash-flow positive by the fall of this year without cutting current projects. And at that point, it would seek more funding.

Slutsky said in an interview Wednesday that she understood the move, as she and PodTech had moved in different directions over the last year and the company spending too much of its resources on her. PodTech had deemphasized projects she had been involved with, such as the Vloggies. Meanwhile, she has been working on producing non-funded videos such as Wednesday’s Dontcha iPhone parody.

Furrier confirmed the story via email on Thursday morning, clarifying that there are still part-time contract opportunities for Slutsky at PodTech. He said the company had spent more than $500,000 on GETV. He also stated PodTech has “millions in the bank.”

Picture of Slutsky by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid.

33 Responses to “Irina Slutsky Leaves PodTech”

  1. It is sad to hear what has happened to POdtech and especially Irina and Eddie, as well as What has happened to Bill etc.
    Are we to understand then that there is less money for user video out there, I mean I got out of Podshow due to the fact that not only did I have to make regular videos, I also had to do my own networking in order to get views, etc.

    I think the Dream is over, no one wants to pay for digital video(Including Mainstream Media), no one buys anything thru advertising, I think people are a little more savvy and wary of the internet than on-line companies give them credit for.

    Soap box OUT.


  2. Podtech has long boring content full of inside baseball nobody cares about that is not in SF or at PodTech. They want to be the internet NPR, and they nailed the boring part.

    I have tried to enjoy it, but the content is bad, the site is bad, and you are never going to build a content company when most of your content is paid advertisements for customers.

  3. This is what I posted to the videoblogging list about the $500k:

    Yes, this a surprise me too. Sure, Irina and I had our salaries, there’s benefits and taxes and all the overhead companies need for full-time employees. Even with gear and assuming that Irina and I were exclusively working on GETV for the whole year, that number does seem a tad exaggerated.

    Irina and I both worked on a number of projects for PodTech during that time. I shot and edited several videos for PodTech’s corporate side as well as some of Scoble’s videos before he got an editor. Then there’s LunchMeet, a twice a week show that Irina and I also hosted, shot and edited, which was birthed at PodTech back in October last year. (Full disclosure: I still produce LM twice a week under an independent consulting agreement with PodTech, similar to deals that Jay, Ryanne, Bill Streeter & Freshtopia have). Not to mention Irina’s work birthing the Vloggies and bringing the community on board.

  4. mark josslett

    I know the situation and the fact is that eddie and irina cost podtech money and they didn’t do their job. they never had money problems and lan bui made up the photo war. the word is that getv and irina couldn’t write or produce content. podtech is smart to cut their losses on a show that didn’t work.

  5. Mr Video

    ken: what shows did they work on? companies make investments and if that what they cost then they didn’t deliver. i’m sure anyone with a brain does the same thing.

  6. I agree with Robert that there are overhead costs.

    But it’s one thing to say Irina and Eddie cost $500k, and it’s another to say GETV cost that.

    Those folks worked on multiple shows, brought in other people that PodTech signed and provided incalculable PR value to the community for PodTech.

  7. Still, why mention it at all? It seems he just picked an impressive sounding round number mostly out of thin air.

    And if PodTech could burn through half a million on GETV and still has millions in the bank, why didn’t they just pay Lan’s invoice?

    I’m glad PodTech is donating $2,000 to Creative Commons, but the whole thing was handled really poorly.

    And GETV is great. Perhaps the problem was viewing it as a franchise though should “click.”

  8. missb: I can’t go into what Eddie and Irina were paid, but let’s say it was $150,000. Now, what about medical and other benefit costs? Rent on buildings? Cameras and equipment? Support personnel (HR, management, IT, etc)? Taxes? etc.

    I think the $500,000 might have been a little high, but it’s not that far off. Most companies know that they’ll have about 3x the costs of salary to employ someone.

  9. I’m a huge GETV fan (not to mention, I shot a few episodes and lended some non-fancy camera equipment to the cause:) ), I have no doubt that Irina + Eddie will have bigger and better opportunities ahead and will continue to bring their brand of “internet famous” content to a growing audience of geeks and non-geeks alike.

    Viva Irina!

  10. Ahhh…the plot thickens. I have to say, I’ve been hearing PodTechPodTechPodTech for the last year and each time I hear it, the tales surrounding it get more negative and more weird.

    $500,000? On what, exactly? Seriously?

    I’m not worried about Eddie C. and Grande Dame Slutsky. Talented folk, they are, and they should be knee-deep in opportunities, Waist-deep, even.

    PodTech, though? They need to crawl out of the weird. “Shift in focus”, eh? I guess we’ll have to wait and see what this means, because if recent events are any indication of their “shift”, then they got issues.

  11. Mark Evans

    The $500,000 was for the VLOGGIES, it was already allocated by Podtech, putting that on the shoulders of GETV is wrong and unfair.

    I knew Podtech was doomed once their rep, Paul missed something like 3 appointments.

  12. best of luck to both Irina & Eddie, whatever they decide to do next… i’m sure they’ll have a lot of opportunities.

    and of course, there’s always a lot of Geeks who wan’t to Entertain on TV :)

  13. Well that’s an interesting twist.

    Last year at this time PodTech was a major force on the rise. They snagged Scoble and they hired Irina and Eddie.

    Then the Vloggies, Jerry Zucker (he did Ghost! and Airplane!).

    At the beginning of the year we almost signed with them. But we were spooked by a small understanding that we thought had been covered previously. But it made us think, and thinking is always a dangerous thing. Especially when you’re about to sign a deal. So we balked and signed elsewhere.

    Then Zucker’s National Banana came out…

    And the whispers of about money problems…

    The Lan Bui fiasco…

    And now finally firing Irina, the face of the company.

    I know that for myself, and several other vloggers, I only talked to PodTech because of Irina Slutsky. Irina was the personality that drew me in and got me excited abut what was happening over there.

    It sucks that she was fired, but she’s a survivor and some other company would be a fool not to hire her.