SeaChange Slims Down

SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) yesterday announced 30 layoffs, about 4 percent of its workforce, as the company reported a wider loss in its second quarter.

The layoffs mostly hit the video-on-demand (VOD) server portion of its broadband division -- even though VOD system revenues rose significantly during the quarter. The cuts led to a $1.1 million charge to account for severance packages.

For its second quarter, which ended July 31, SeaChange reported revenues of $44.2 million, down from a record $45.8 million recorded a year ago. The company, which specializes in advanced advertising and video-on-demand systems, also reported a net loss of $8 million, or 27 cents per share, versus a profit of $1 million, 3 cents per share, a year ago. (See SeaChange Reports Q2.)

In March, SeaChange became one of the last VOD companies to decouple its back office from its server hardware. It has since announced the integration of its Axiom back office with servers from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR). (See Dogs & Cats Playing Together .)

At the same time, SeaChange has tried to innovate on the hardware side with a new breed of servers based completely on Flash technology. (See A Flashy Approach to VOD.)

SeaChange's broadband unit, which includes VOD and ad insertion gear and software, notched up $22.9 million in revenues, down $1.2 million versus a year earlier, but 20 percent higher than what it posted in the previous quarter. The company attributed the sequential jump to a rise in VOD systems revenues, which came in at $12.4 million, compared to just $5.4 million in the first quarter. However, sales tied to ad insertion gear dipped by $1.5 million due to slower growth among MSOs in North America.

SeaChange CEO Bill Styslinger said the company hopes to reach profitability again in the second half of the year, citing stronger VOD system orders, "selected" deployments of its Axiom on-demand back office platform with non-SeaChange video servers, and the results from cost reductions made in the second quarter.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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