On September 18, 2013, multi-channel network Machinima released a statement announcing that it was laying off roughly 10% of its staff. In the statement, Machinima wrote that the layoffs were executed so money could be moved into growth areas such as “premium programming.”
In the layoffs, a large majority of Machinima Respawn producers and hosts were let go, prompting several fans on Twitter to speculate that Respawn itself would be shut down or absorbed into the Machinima main channel.
While Respawn does boast an impressive subscriber rank on YouTube, according to social analytics platform Social Blade, the channel has suffered in terms of views per day and views per month over the past few years.
In 2010, Respawn was averaging 1.5 million views per day. However, in 2013 daily views have fallen to around 500,000. While also looking at Respawn’s yearly subscriber rate, the channel has more or less been on an even plain, averaging anywhere between 500–1,000 new subs a day. Although this may seem like a large number to some, compared to the Machinima main channel (10,000 to 20,000 new subs a day), Respawn seems to be falling below the network’s high demands.
Finally, looking at Machinima’s official statement regarding the layoffs, we see an emphasis on downsizing and moving funds towards premium content. The success of Machinima’s original content on Machinima Prime shows that the network wants to establish itself as a destination for television-style viewing — executives at the company, including CEO Allen DeBevoise, have said as much publicly. This type of content facilitates longer view times and repeat visitors, which are two variables that make most advertisers froth at the mouth. Machinima will want to focus on content that keeps people watching for extended periods of time. With gameplay videos and skits, Respawn content does not necessarily fit into this category.
There is no official word yet on the status or future of Respawn. However, we reached out to Machinima representatives for comment and will update with a response as soon as possible.