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Spot Runner called us this morning to say it is laying off 115 employees, or about 30 percent of its workforce. The Los Angeles-based company is refocusing its business on being a technology platform for video advertising — both on TV and online — and cutting off its roots in local advertising, where it started on TV and moved online.
Spot Runner CEO Nick Grouf attributed the cuts to the downturned economy. “We will see small businesses cut more deeply into advertising budgets than Fortune 500 businesses,” he said. As a result, Spot Runner will be consolidating Weblistic, an online marketing services firm for local businesses, that it acquired in May, and “exploring alternatives for that business.” Other layoffs concern a general “tightening up” around the company.
Grouf said Spot Runner still has “significant cash in the bank” from its $51 million raise earlier this year. He would not disclose the company’s revenue but said it was seeing “solid growth” and that the cuts were preemptive in light of new economic circumstances.
Spot Runner laid off 50 employees earlier this summer as part of a strategic shift from local businesses to national businesses — the part of the company led by much-touted Executive VP Joanne Bradford, a hire from Microsoft. (Since those layoffs, Bradford left the company for Yahoo — after only six months at Spot Runner.) Though the rhetoric around these recent moves — shifting to national from local — seems the same, Grouf described today’s events as “a different situation.” The earlier move was more about “trying to change the skillset” by laying off some employees and hiring new ones, he said.
To its credit, TechCrunch had written last week that layoffs might happen at Spot Runner — but these days, that seems to be a safe bet at most any online video company.