What FAST Boom? Plex Lays Off 37 Workers, 20% of Staff

(Image credit: Plex)

Like kickboxing, we've all been told that free ad-supported streaming TV is the sport of the future. 

Well that boom seems to have charged straight into the teeth of an advertising recession, further evidenced by the fact that Silicon Valley FAST operator Plex just laid off 37 workers, or 20% of its staff, attributing the unfortunate act to the soft ad market. 

Saying that Plex has been "severely impacted" by the downturn in ad revenue, Plex CEO Keith Valory told staff via Slack Thursday that the company is trying to restore its budget to being cash-flow positive in the next 18 months.

“Unfortunately, we cannot know how long ad markets and pricing will continue to be depressed and volatile,” Valory added in the Slack message, which was intercepted by The Verge. “The only way to reach profitability under these constraints is to significantly reduce our personnel expenses." 

Plex established itself as the maker of a popular software product that lets users convert their own downloaded video and music into content streamable on proprietary and open networks. 

However, in recent years, the company has made an aggressive pivot into free, ad-supported streaming.

Earlier this year, Plex said its FAST was serving 16 million monthly active users. That's a far bigger base than those using its media server products, but probably not nearly enough to get it done in a highly competitive FAST market with far bigger players competing for limited revenue.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!