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Picture 18 Current Media is at the axe for the second time, laying off 80 employees as it plans to outsource more of its programming. Despite its new-media upbringing, the company co-founded by Al Gore isn’t immune to the struggles of its predecessors. It shelved plans for an IPO to raise as much as $100 million in April.

Instead of using full-time staff to do daily and short-form segments, it’s moving into longer-form work and is planning to get content through acquisitions and by partnering with other studios. Current said the layoffs weren’t motivated by cost-cutting and that it will have its more profitable year in 2009. The company turned profitable last year, up from a $9.86 million loss in 2007.

The company recently brought in new leadership over the summer; it hired Mark Rosenthal, a former COO of MTV Networks, as CEO.

“We have identified a couple shows that haven’t been working and we’ve come to realize that over-reliance on short-form content is not the best strategy,” said Joanna Drake Earl, Current’s COO.

Here’s their statement:

Current Media has made changes to its organization, most notably in the area of television programming. Current will be shifting away from short-form programming and daily in-house production and towards proven 30-60 minute formats from a multitude of sources, including acquisitions, co-productions, outside studios, as well as Current developed and produced content.

With this change, Current made the difficult yet necessary decision to eliminate certain daily, weekly, and non-regularly scheduled programs, including “Current Tonight,” “Current Takeover” and “Current Exposed.”

As a result of these cancelations, and the shift away from a reliance on daily in-house production, Current Media eliminated 80 positions worldwide associated with the affected programs and related support personnel in the company.

This re-organization was not the result of a need to cut costs. Current Media will have its most profitable year. This financial stability will allow the company to re-allocate resources in order to put further emphasis on areas of the business believed to best position Current Media for continued long-term growth. Part of this investment will be the immediate creation of new executive positions, and teams in program development, licensing and acquisitions, talent management, research, marketing, affiliate relations and advertising sales.

As part of the re-organization, Current Media will be consolidating television production and programming development activities together under one roof in Los Angeles with new facilities at LA Center Studios.

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