News Corp.-owned IGN Entertainment, which includes both the video game network of the same name, as well as sites like AskMen, is going through a major round of layoffs. In an all-staff memo sent today, IGN president Roy Bahat says that while the company has been “doing well — we’re profitable and our audience continues to grow,” it’s “still feeling the effects of the economy, and we need to make sure we can invest where there is opportunity.” He says jobs are being cut “in every part of the company.” The memo — which we obtained our own copy of and which is included in its entirety after the jump — was first posted by Joystiq.
The layoffs reemphasize the uncertainty surrounding the status of News Corp.’s digital media group. Over the last several months, the company has sold several of its digital properties, including Rotten Tomatoes (which was part of IGN), Photobucket, and Digital Publishing Group.
News Corp.’s digital media group is also reportedly shopping its Fox Mobile Group, which went through a deep round of layoffs of its own last year. Then, of course, there’s the recent executive shakeup (and sale rumors) at MySpace.
This is the second set of job cuts at IGN in less than a year. News Corp. cut between 50 and 75 people at its non-MySpace digital operations, including IGN, last June, although the company never specified how many of those layoffs were at IGN.
News Corp (NYSE: NWS). representatives aren’t sharing details.
The full memo sent this afternoon by Bahat:
Today’s a hard day at IGN. We’ve had to reduce the size of our organization and are eliminating roles today in every part of the company. We are making every effort to be compassionate and fair to the people whose roles we’ve eliminated.
We’re doing this to reduce costs. While we’ve been doing well – we’re profitable and our audience continues to grow – we’re still feeling the effects of the economy, and we need to make sure we can invest where there is opportunity. Over the past couple of years, we have been focusing IGN on areas where we can not only grow, but be best in the world: serving gamers online, and serving advertisers looking to reach men. To do that successfully, we have to be as efficient as possible in our core businesses. The difficult actions we’re taking today get us to where we need to be.
We are losing colleagues who played an important role getting us to where we are — #1 in games and men’s lifestyle, and growing 40% over last year in the total size of our audience. We are deeply grateful to our colleagues for everything they’ve done. We as a company are absolutely headed in the right direction, and while today will be hard, it won’t stop us.
We’ll have an All-Hands meeting later today to discuss this, and give you a chance to ask questions. Greg will be sending out a note with the exact timing, please be on the lookout for that.
It probably goes without saying, but please keep this absolutely confidential to IGN. If you are approached by any member of the press, please direct them to Kris Sharbaugh.