Vice Media is laying off about 2% of its 3,000 employees across multiple departments while at the same time the company is looking expand internationally and ramp up video production, Variety has learned.
The layoffs of about 60 staffers are taking place Friday, according to a source familiar with the situation. The cutbacks affect personnel in sales, branded content, editorial and corporate areas in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
A Vice rep confirmed the layoffs but declined to comment further.
The cuts come after Vice last month announced $450 million in funding from private-equity firm TPG, which it said would help fund its international expansion and the launch of Vice Studios — marking a new push into original scripted programming. The TPG investment gives Brooklyn-based Vice an estimated valuation of $5.7 billion, according to CEO Shane Smith.
Even with the layoffs this week, Vice expects overall headcount to increase in the near future with its international expansion and growth in video-content production.
The company is aiming to be operating in more than 80 countries by the first quarter of 2018 and has signed distribution deals with partners worldwide. As part of that, Vice is opening offices in Mumbai and Dubai in the next few months and plans to staff up in other countries where it’s already operating, including Brazil.
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In new and existing markets, Vice will hire staff for increased video production, according to the source. That will be for both nonscripted content and for Vice Studios, which is focused on scripted entertainment for TV, film, mobile and digital platforms.
As part of the staffing changes, Vice’s online arts, culture and nightlife coverage that appear on its Thump and Creators channels will move to the main Vice.com site, according to the source. Vice Sports will remain independent but will shift to a greater focus on video.
Last year, the company restructured Vice News, cutting employees in the U.S. and the U.K. but hiring others as it consolidated news operations under Josh Tyrangiel, the ex-Bloomberg content chief who had originally been hired to oversee Vice’s nightly news show for HBO.