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Oxygen Media pares down online business

The women's online network says it is laying off 65 employees and closing its Seattle office as it reorganizes.

Women's online network Oxygen Media this week said it is laying off 65 employees and closing its Seattle office as it reorganizes.

The cuts were announced just a day after the company closed $100 million in new financing from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures.

Oxygen Media--backed by television celebrity Oprah Winfrey--on Tuesday notified 44 full-time and 21 part-time employees, less than 10 percent of its work force, that they will be laid off. The company also said its current roster of 12 Web sites will be trimmed to four: Oxygen.com, Young Audiences, Oprah and Thrive.

The New York-based company has faced a string of financial difficulties this year as it has struggled to produce both Web and TV programming amid growing investor skepticism about online media companies.

The start-up in June laid off a handful of employees for financial reasons and gave two TV shows a hiatus. It also folded style site Picky into its shopping information service, Shop O2, and discontinued direct retail sales from Womenshands, a site for female artisans to sell their wares, after recognizing the high costs and expertise needed to run a retail outfit.

Although Oxygen Media received new financing from Vulcan Ventures to develop new online, cable and other programming initiatives and services, the network's chief executive, Geraldine Laybourne, said the company is "streamlining" its online business by redirecting its resources and staffing and by consolidating operations in New York.

"The recent $100 million investment by Vulcan Ventures, a company that intimately understands our business, is a powerful vote of confidence in Oxygen, and combined with our online reorganization, keeps us on plan for profitability," Laybourne said in a statement. "We continue to believe that the Internet is made for women and that our future is built on the convergence of both TV and online."