After streamlining across its TV channels, the TV18 group is reportedly shutting some of its web properties and drastically reducing staff strength
Web18 Software Services Ltd, or Web18, the Internet and mobile arm of Network18, has reportedly decided to close several of its web properties and cut down staff strength to just 15%. According to sources, employees were handed over three months’ severance package and asked not to report for duty from 26th August. The web properties that are likely to be shut down includes, in.com and CommoditiesControl.com while others will be kept alive nominally. Moneycontrol.com, the flagship property will be run by a handful of staff, sources said.
This follows the move by the television arm of Network18, which last week handed out pink slips to hundreds of employees, including cameramen, technicians, reporters, news anchors and producers across its channels.
Web18 has a variety of information and transactional services based on the Internet. This includes, In.com, Moneycontrol.com, Cricketnext.com, CommoditiesControl.com, PowerYourTrade.com, Tech2.com, Biztech2.com, IBNLive.com, Compareindia.com, Storeguru.com (now In.com Shop), Indiaearnings.com, JobStreet.com, Indiwo.com, Buzz18.com, Josh18.com, Yatra.com and BookMyShow.com.
The TV18 group holds 85% stake in Web18 Holdings while the remaining is held by Global Broadcast News Network, a part of the group.
According to a report from NewsLaundry.com, the mass terminations were supposedly decided in a Macau offsite earlier this year where managing director Raghav Bahl had told his marketing team that they do not need any specialist journalists. In fact, owing to the same formula of no-need-of-specialists CNN IBN’s Special Investigation team headed by VK Shashikumar was packed up a year earlier. Similarly, Bahar Dutt and her environmental reporting team have also been asked to leave, the report said.
The report also mentioned that the downsizing was believed to have an adverse impact on some of Network 18’s online ventures and Moneycontrol.com was the next in queue. "Its operations are being streamlined and the office is shifting to Parel from Matunga. The downsizing is believed to be because the website’s traffic has plummeted substantially. Forbes India which saw the rather ugly exit of its four editors a few months back, might be shut down permanently," the report says. The group has wide presence in print, internet and television. It has been making losses in almost all its ventures. The group is now controlled by Mukesh Ambani through a complicated arrangement that has bypassed takeover norms.