On Friday in a surprise announcement, the entire staff for StarTrek.com team was laid off as part of a larger series of cost cuts at CBS Interactive. The layoffs have put the future of the official site for Star Trek in doubt. Now TrekMovie.com has been sent an official statement from CBS, see below
Official Statement from CBS (should be available on STARTREK.COM shortly)
CBS Interactive, which oversees StarTrek.com, is reorganizing the way it does business to align the division’s workforce with its new vision that focuses on building communities online.
CBS Interactive remains absolutely committed to StarTrek.com and to growing the site along with its users by directly tapping into and utilizing the passionate fan base that has supported the site.
It has been your support and contributions to the lore of Star Trek that are what make StarTrek.com a vibrant place to be. To that end, we encourage you to keep the conversation alive and flowing using our message boards.
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CBS committed to keeping StarTrek.com alive
The statement is similar to the more general statement issued by CBS on Friday. CBS appears to be committed to keeping a site up at startrek.com, but what site and who will run it is still up in the air. Someone close to the matter tells TrekMovie.com “the site will get stronger, better, faster, live longer and prosper even more…there are no plans to shut it down.” TrekMovie.com can confirm that the Friday decision was entirely made by CBS Interactive and was part of a larger cost-cutting and restructuring effort at CBS-I. TrekMovie.com has also learned that some within CBS (outside of CBS Interactive) are not happy about the layoffs and are making inquirees internally about the fate of the site and the laid off staff. There is some speculation that the budget cuts are related to belt-tightening across all the networks who are going to be facing a big drop in ad revenue in the new year due to the WGA strike.
UPDATED: Farewell removed…staff still laid off
The above statement has now been put up at StarTrek.com, it has replaced the ‘farewell’ message and banner that were put up by the staff on Friday. However, this is not because they have been rehired. TrekMovie.com has confirmed that the staff are still laid off. You may notice some updates to the site today and over the next week, but these are all automated updates that were programmed in last week.
Nothing to do with new moive
The lay offs at StarTrek.com have nothing to do with Paramount or their plans for promotion of the new Star Trek movie over the next year. As has been the custom with other recent films, Paramount will have a separate promotional site for the new movie (which would be linked to startrek.com). To date Paramount has been using ‘startrek.com’ as the destination for all promotional materials related to the upcoming Star Trek film. It is likely that this would also be the case for the upcoming trailer premiering on January 18th with Cloverfield. It is unknown what effect the changes at StarTrek.com will have on Paramount’s plans for the online promotion for Star Trek. Bear in mind that CBS and Paramount share the Star Trek brand and although they work closely together, they are totally separate entities with their own agendas and decision making structures.