AOL’s Patch network is cutting back in the hopes of turning a profit by the end of 2011, reports Forbes. That’ll be tough to do if it keeps losing money the way it has. In the first quarter it lost about $40 million, and in 2Q the sites lost almost $12 million. Sadly, it seems the way Patch is going to fix things is by asking more from less:
In the last few weeks, Patch’s 800-plus editors have been told their budgets for freelance assignments are being reduced, in some cases severely. As freelance content diminishes, readers are noticing more articles being republished across multiple sites, notwithstanding their avowed ultra-local focus. Meanwhile, editors are being encouraged to work more closely with salespeople to pull in ad revenue.
The site’s President, Warren Webster, said that reducing freelancers was always part of the plan, but this doesn’t inspire much confidence in Patch. How does producing less content end up bringing in more readers?