CARLSBAD, Calif., July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NTN) today announced that it has realigned its operating and cost structure to sharpen its focus on product development and customer retention, made an important addition to its Board, appointed Vladimir Edelman to role of Chief Product Officer and that Chairman Jeff Berg has assumed the interim CEO role.
The Company has realigned staffing and costs in order to create savings necessary to invest in a product transformation that is expected to include a more robust marketing services platform designed to acquire, activate and retain customers for our subscribers using loyalty and messaging programs while also enabling additional participation in Buzztime games via smartphones and consumer tablets for play in and out of venues. Nineteen staff positions have been eliminated and the top three executives have taken voluntary salary reductions. In all, the Company estimates these changes will reduce costs by $2.3 million on an annualized basis once fully implemented and excluding any severance costs.
"We are intent upon reinvesting these cost savings in ways that are designed to significantly improve the return on investment of Buzztime to our venues and increase the engagement of Buzztime by their patrons. We intend to invest more aggressively in product, marketing services and mobile devices and to also focus more on retention while we're in the midst of transforming our product," said Jeff Berg, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "We need to focus more aggressively on product transformation, both near-term and long term, to provide clients more ROI and to attract more consumers. Once we have that more fully developed, we can focus on growing the network, but until then we need to develop a more robust, engaging product and that's going to be our focus over the next year."The Company also announced that Jeff Berg has assumed the interim CEO role and that Paul Yanover has been appointed to its Board of Directors effective July 2, 2012. Additionally, in recognition of his growing strategic role, Vladimir Edelman has been appointed as Chief Product Officer. Mr. Edelman previously served as the Company's Chief Content Officer. "The Board of Directors and the Company welcome Paul's help to affect a more rapid transformation of the product and the business," said Jeff Berg. "Paul is all about product and engaging consumers and his experience in the development and monetization of digital media, marketing and game environments will be of tremendous help to us as we transform our product and expand the marketing services platform of Buzztime." Mr. Yanover leads Lookout Interactive Media, a consulting practice focused on strategy, product development, marketing and monetization for digital media, technology and entertainment companies. He was most recently executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online, where he oversaw all Disney-branded strategic, creative, technical, and marketing initiatives on the Internet and mobile web, including Disney.com, Disney on line's suite of premium products including online worlds Club Penguin, Pixie Hollow and Toontown, and a network of family-targeted sites. Earlier he was senior vice president in charge of Disney's Parks and Resorts Online, and was founding executive of the Buena Vista Game Entertainment Studio, a new startup within Disney created to develop online and mobile games across connected and emerging platforms.