Jupiter Media Metrix Sacks 30% of Staff

Afflicted with the same woes as its clients, Jupiter Media Metrix announced yesterday it has axed 30 percent of its worldwide work force and restructured senior management as the New York consultancy copes with a slowing economy.

While the exact number of layoffs is unknown, Hoover's Online said Jupiter had 882 employees in 2000. Jupiter said the changes would steer customer focus, protect and leverage core assets and make it profitable.

“In this extreme market climate … it is important that we are efficient and conservative with our resources,” Robert Becker, CEO of Jupiter, said in a statement.

A cheerleader of the Internet economy in the late 1990s, Jupiter Communications offered research, analysis and conferences. It added site tracking and measurement services last year when it merged with Media Metrix.

Jupiter competitors include Forrester Research, Yankee Group, Gartner, Aberdeen Group and Gomez. Many of these researchers have been forced to scale back after Wall Street's patience with fiscally irresponsible Internet-only firms ran out.

Like a few of its younger rivals, Jupiter has had difficulty turning a profit despite its high profile and blue-chip roster of clients. According to Hoover's, Jupiter reported a net loss last year of $63.3 million, though sales rose 279.5 percent to $77.8 million. For the same period, the number of employees increased 401.1 percent.

With the new cuts and other expense-reduction programs, Jupiter aims to shave $40 million off annual operating expenses. The company will continue to maintain offices in New York and worldwide.

In a related management and divisional reshuffle, Kurt Abrahamson has been named president of the Jupiter Research division, which also includes the conference business. He previously was group president of the U.S. business.

Also, Will Hodgman becomes president of the measurement group, from a similar title at the AdRelevance division. In his new job, Hodgman will oversee a group that consolidates Jupiter's AdRelevance, Media Metrix and Site Measurement divisions.

“This structure brings the entire organization closer to the marketplace and streamlines our interaction with clients,” Becker said in the statement.

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