Scripps Networks Closes Syndicated Video Division, Fires Workers

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Thursday, Scripps Networks permanently closed it syndicated video division, Scripps Lifestyle Network, leading to layoffs in its New York City and San Francisco offices. Burton Jablin, the company's chief operating officer, made the announcement to employees.

The shuttering led to layoffs of 14 people in the technical engineering and data analysis departments in the company's San Francisco office, as well as an unspecified number of people from the New York City office. Those let go received generous severance and benefits packages. StreamingMedia.com spoke to a software developer in the San Francisco office who chose to remain anonymous. Emails to Scripps's corporate communications department were not answered.

The decision seems to have been prompted by shifts in the online video marketplace. Scripps Lifestyle Network was created as a programmatic content provider that shared ad revenue with third-party web providers. However, company executives realized that the cost and technology required for such transactions was now practical and available on other video platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. New outlets and the ease of developing multi-platform apps made the model more cost-effective and easier to scale, while still providing rich data analysis.

Challenges to Scripps included the cost of acquiring publishers, meeting ad sales guarantees, measuring ad serving performance, dealing with ad blockers, and the problem of questionable traffic on third-party websites. The network occasionally served over 3 million ad impressions per day, but that proved difficult to maintain. In the end, our source believes, the division didn't end up being the lifestyle portal and network of publishers that the company originally envisioned. Look for Scripps to focus on social and over-the-top distribution, rather than using a proprietary video player hosted by third-party publishers.

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