DoubleClick Revamps Media Unit

NEW YORK — DoubleClick Inc. said it is realigning its media business into a unit with one sales force and said it will cut its work force by 10%, mostly affecting its media-advertising sales staff.

The cuts would mark the second round of layoffs for the leading online-advertising provider, which in December said it would lay off about 8% to 10% of its 2,100-member work force amid a slowdown in Internet advertising. As with the December cuts, DoubleClick Wednesday declined to say how many workers would be affected but offered that it likely will end the second quarter with 1,850 employees.

“Given today’s market conditions, we have determined that this strategy is the best way to service our Web publishers as well as advertiser clients,” Barry Salzman, DoubleClick’s president of global media, said in a prepared release. “Our goal in this realignment is to leverage our media sales force more efficiently as well as improve client service levels with a dedicated senior level team focused on key sites and advertisers.”

Under the realignment, DoubleClick said its U.S. media unit will split its focus between branded sites and audience reach and targeting. A central media sales force will sell both of the company’s offerings — the DoubleClick Brand Network and the DoubleClick Audience Network.

DoubleClick (DCLK) said the move will help it better manage its ad inventory, plus provide clients with personalized account-management services to help them meet their online-marketing objectives. The company said its media business outside the U.S. won’t change.

The company said Wednesday that it expects its media business to be less than 20% of gross profit in 2001. When DoubleClick reported fourth-quarter results in January, it said weakness in online ad sales would extend through 2001, weighing on earnings. DoubleClick projected that revenue from its media business would be down 25% to 30% from the year-earlier quarter amid overall revenue growth of 6% to 12%.

Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.