Layoffs and executive shuffle at Vudu

Maker of movie-playing set-top boxes won't detail how many layoffs but says they come in "each department" as the company names a new chief financial officer.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
Set-top maker gets a new CFO amid a reorg. Vudu

Only 16 months ago, Vudu, the maker of a movie-playing set-top box, was generating splashy headlines in publications like The New York Times.

Now the company, which bills itself as a video store in a box, is at the center of speculation about layoffs and executive upheaval.

Last week, CE Pro reported that the company had reduced staff by nearly 20 percent, or about 16 to 18 employees out of 100.

A Vudu representative confirmed via e-mail that the company had reduced staffing but declined to discuss figures. Vudu "had to restructure a bit from each department" the representative wrote. "The restructuring is all part of the company reorg to focus more on sales and distribution."

On Monday, Vudu announced that it named Chris Watts, a former eBay executive, as the company's new chief financial officer. What happened to the old CFO? You guessed it: "The former CFO left for personal reasons," according to the representative. CE Pro also reported that one of the company's founders has left the company. Vudu denied that either of it's two founders have left.

Chris Albrecht of NewTeeVee pointed out that some of the company's most recent moves, which includes adding pornography and a 99-cent bargain bin "don't exactly scream stability."

Meanwhile, the number of set-top boxes that transfer movies from the Web to consumers' TVs has exploded. Amid all the growth, Vudu has become an also-ran.