×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vice Media to Axe 10% of Staff, Laying Off About 250 Employees, Amid Revenue Slowdown

Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc has set plans to lay off 10% of the company’s employees — resulting in the elimination of 250 jobs across all departments — as it looks to slash costs amid a revenue slowdown.

The cuts aren’t surprising: Brooklyn-based Vice last fall instituted a hiring freeze and was hoping to avoid layoffs by winnowing down its headcount through attrition. With the restructuring, Dubuc is de-emphasizing focus on Vice’s web properties and is looking to bulk up efforts in film, TV production and branded content centered on its millennial-skewing audience and counter-cultural ethos.

“Having finalized the 2019 budget, our focus shifts to executing our goals and hitting our marks,” Dubuc wrote in a memo to staff Friday. “To this end, we’ve had to make hard but necessary operating decisions. Starting today, the next phase of our plan begins as we reorganize our global workforce. Unfortunately, this means we will have to say goodbye to some of our Vice colleagues.” The Vice layoffs were first reported by THR.

The reorg at Vice will shift from a country-centric structure to one geared around the company’s five lines of business: studios, news, digital, TV and in-house ad agency Virtue. In her memo, Dubuc said Vice has a “significant number” of open positions in growth areas, including sales, studios, Vice News digital and Virtue in many countries.

Vice isn’t alone in struggling to hit profit goals, as many digital-media players are hitting a wall in achieving growth targets. Last week, BuzzFeed announced it would cut 15% of its staff, which included the elimination of BuzzFeed News’ national news team. Verizon last month laid off 800 employees in the Verizon Media Group, or 7% of the staff in the division that combined AOL and Yahoo operations.

The layoffs come as Vice’s revenue has stagnated. In 2018, the company projected revenue to be between $600 million and $650 million (flat with 2017) and was expecting to lose $50 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

One recent loss for Vice: Its weekly documentary program on HBO is ending after six years. However, the premium cabler will continue to air the half-hour “Vice News Tonight,” which runs four nights per week.

Dubuc, speaking last fall at the New York Times’ DealBook conference, claimed Vice will become profitable again within the next fiscal year. She noted that Vice was profitable a few years ago, before it invested heavily in the launch of the Viceland cable channel and international expansion.

Vice’s last major round of cuts was in July 2017, when it laid off around 2% of its then-3,000 employee base across multiple departments while at the same time expanding internationally and boosting video production.

Dubuc, former CEO of A+E Networks, was tapped last year as CEO of Vice in the wake of a sexual-harassment scandal at the company that resulted in the exit or firing of several execs. Co-founder Shane Smith shifted into a new role as executive chairman.

Vice said it will grant pink-slipped employees in the U.S. severance packages with 10 weeks’ pay as well as compensation for accrued paid time-off days. Managers and HR teams will meet Friday with employees being laid off in the U.S., U.K. and Mexico, with cuts in other regions to follow in the next few weeks.

Along with the restructuring news, Dubuc called out recent Vice wins. That included Vice Studios/Unbranded Pictures political thriller “The Report” starring Adam Driver, which Amazon bought for $14 million after its premiere at Sundance Film Festival, and the Vice-produced “Fyre” documentary on Netflix. She also touted double-digit traffic increases in views, watch time and subscribers in Vice’s digital business, and Virtue landing 20 big new clients in 2018.

Originally started in 1994 as an alternative-culture magazine in Montreal, Vice has expanded into a multiplatform media conglomerate, spanning cable TV channel Viceland, television and film production, about a dozen website “channels,” and print magazines. The company had an eye-popping $5.7 billion valuation after it received $450 million in new funding in June 2017 from private-equity firm TPG, but that valuation has since declined — as evidenced by Disney’s $157 million write-down on its Vice ownership stake for the September 2018 quarter.

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content