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News Corp.'s IGN lays off 20% of staff

Nine months after MySpace laid off 30% of its Beverly Hills-based workforce, another of News Corp.'s Internet businesses has cut a significant chunk of its staff.

IGN Entertainment, an Internet portal which focuses on video games and is aimed at young men, has eliminated approximately 65 jobs, or about 20% of its staff, according to a person close to the company. IGN president Roy Bahat announced the layoffs in a memo Tuesday, though he didn't specify the number of job cuts at the time.

As MySpace attempts to find a new identity, IGN Entertainment, which News Corp. acquired in 2005 for $650 million, recently ended several initiatives that positioned it more as a broad entertainment portal, such as selling movie and television show downloads. It also recently sold reviews compilation site RottenTomatoes to Flixster Inc. in exchange for equity. Now the company is going back to its roots by targeting gamers.

"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," Bahat wrote in a memo to IGN staff. "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."

The biggest percentage of IGN’s revenue comes from ad-supported editorial content, but it is also selling digital downloads of games and providing technology for online multiplayer gaming to other companies.

-- Ben Fritz and Dawn C. Chmielewski
 
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