Vice Media tightens its belt, plans to cut staff by 15% 

After a hiring freeze 6 weeks ago, Vice’s new CEO announced the digital media publisher’s plans to lay off close to 15% of its workforce.

November 9, 2018

The alt-media titan’s new CEO, Nancy Dubuc (who replaced Shane Smith in March) ordered a companywide hiring freeze 6 weeks ago — now, The Wall Street Journal reports that she plans to trim staff by 10-15%.

Where has the audience gone?

Vice Media had 27m unique visitors in September, down from 49.1m in March of 2016, and is reportedly expected to make between $600m and $650m this year, on track to lose more than $50m (it also lost $100m in 2017). 

At a board meeting on Tuesday, Dubuc suggested the company focus on areas of growth, like making more television shows and movies for third parties.

Dubuc also plans to consolidate to 3-5 verticals (it currently runs more than a dozen, including Munchies, Noisey, and Broadly).

Now Disney is covering its a**

Disney, who originally invested a reported $400m in Vice back in 2015, is taking a $157m write-down on its stake after the announcement.

The turmoil comes amid a broader drought in digital media, as media rivals like Vox Media and Refinery29 (which announced last month it would lay off about 10% of its workforce) missed revenue targets in recent months as well.

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