Yahoo streamlines ent. div.; no layoffs expected


Yahoo is consolidating its entertainment division, the company announced Thursday.

No layoffs are expected as part of the streamlining, which comes as the struggling Web giant is in the midst of a company-wide re-evaluation following the exit of CEO Terry Semel in June. Current CEO Jerry Yang is expected to sit down with top execs Friday to discuss a new overall corporate strategy.

Vince Broady, head of entertainment and video at Yahoo, is looking to eliminate internal distinctions made among the five areas that comprise the division -- TV, movies, music, games and celebrity-news service OMG! -- to better integrate its efforts.

"We are streamlining the structure of one portion of our Santa Monica presence -- our entertainment division -- with a vision of offering a more integrated entertainment experience," Broady wrote in a corporate blog with the headline "Finding Focus in Hollywood."

The company also indicated in a statement that there are no plans for retrenchment in Santa Monica, where it maintains a satellite presence to interface with Hollywood.

"Yahoo! remains committed to the media priorities of its Santa Monica offices, where these businesses maintain important relationships with key media partners."

Yahoo's entertainment unit has been in a near-constant state of flux since its decision to put down stakes outside its Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. Semel drafted ABC Entertainment chief Lloyd Braun to push into original programming, only to backtrack, leading to Braun's departure. Broady has since shifted emphasis from producing originals to surrounding established brands with supplementary content.

Sources indicated the restructuring sets the table for Yahoo to launch a new unspecified initiative before the end of the year. The initiative is expected to pool resources from all parts of the entertainment unit, which is redeploying employees to make that happen.

There are also rumblings that Yahoo's music division will be most affected by the redeployment, with the potential shuttering of its premium music service.

Yahoo also announced this week it would close its podcasting service, but that does not come under its entertainment division.