ManiaTV Lays Off 20, to Reduce Amount of Original Content

ManiaTV this week laid off 20 employees, taking its head count to roughly 50 from some 70, and said it will reduce the number of shows in its line-up of original programming. The company told us in a statement that it will continue to produce original content but it “will begin to rely more heavily on partner, third party and co-produced programming.”

ManiaTV said the programming cuts applied mostly to experimental, unsponsored shows, including Video of the Week, Sam’s Circle and Midnight Rida. Some of the shows have a backlog of episodes so they will continue appearing through the beginning of next year.

Right now the gaming show Arcade is carrying the network, with 40 percent of ManiaTV’s 4.7 million visitors in September, according to comScore. That number was a four-year best for the site. The company says that with the layoffs it can become profitable by the second quarter of 2009.

ManiaTV, which started in 2004 as a 24-hour live web video site, and lagged its video portal counterparts in transitioning to Flash, moved from Denver to Hollywood last year and threw a ton of resources (including $10 million in new funding) into producing original content at a huge studio space. The company has raised a total of $26 million from Benchmark Capitol, Centennial Ventures, Intel, DAG Ventures and Comerica Bank. In terms of the layoffs, somewhere around five of the 20 laid off were from the tech side of the company.

Layoffs are a common theme these days, mostly due to the current economic downturn. We’ve recently covered layoffs at Veoh, PermissionTV, Playboy, Heavy, Seesmic, and BitTorrent. Crackle, another site focused on original content, also lost most of its staff amid a move from Northern California to its Sony mothership in Culver City, Calif.