Britannica.com Cuts More Staff, Announces New Service

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Britannica.com yesterday said it would trim its staff and alter the company's focus.


Sixty-eight people, nearly one-third of the Chicago company's 220 remaining employees, were to be let go. The cuts, which were set to begin this week and will run through June. The company fired 52 workers in November.


In addition to the cuts, the company said it would diversify by offering paid services.


In a statement, Britannica.com CEO Don Yannais said the online encyclopedia company will "accelerate the marketing of pay services as part of the company's restructuring." Until now, Britannica.com has marketed itself as a free site that relies on advertising for revenue.


"We are out there in the marketplace," Yannais said. "And we're convinced that a diversified business model combining free and subscription-supported services is the road to success."


Company officials said the first of its new paid services would be BritannicaSchool.com, which will be geared to students and teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade. BritannicaSchool.com is scheduled to debut this summer.


The is considering more changes to increase profits.


"We are looking at the whole site, and there are a lot of things being considered," said company spokesman Tom Panelas. He added that the company is evaluating other premium services for the consumer and education markets.


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