Frederator, the animation and cartoon-based company founded by MTV and Next New Networks alum Fred Seibert, has restructured, laying off 15 employees between its New York and Los Angeles offices. Current headcount now stands at about 25, mostly in New York City.
As part of the reorg, Frederator Networks has trimmed the team operating its unscripted programming division, Frederator Flux Productions, a unit that was announced in November 2015. Since its announcement, Frederator Flux has produced over 400 videos to date, accounting for 250 million video views. While the team has been scaled back, Seibert tells VideoInk that production will continue but that the management structures and team will be rearranged and centralized to New York.
According to him, Frederator Networks began to extend the business to include new genres and focus areas, like gaming for instance. Its a struggle almost every entrepreneur faces — when to scale and how fast. In this case, the expansion was perhaps too aggressive given the infrastructure in place, both in staffing and revenues.
The news calls into question whether its possible to truly scale production in digital video, even for a veteran like Seibert, without massive amounts of funding. Despite Frederator Networks position as the leader for distribution of online cartoon and animated content, building a business around digital has its challenges.
Frederator Networks sits atop Frederator Studios, a company Seibert founded in ’97 to produce animated content, as well as Channel Frederator, the YouTube-first channel that has since expanded to include its own destination sites, Cartoon Hangover, which received funding from YouTube, and Atomo Network, a spanish-language co-venture with Mexico-based Anima Studios. The company’s most well known titles are”Bee & Puppycat” and “Bravest Warriors.” The first episode of “Bee & Puppycat” (below) has over 3.5 million views.