Verizon Media Group Lays Off 800 Employees

Recently-rebranded Oath cuts 7 percent of its workforce to focus on mobile and video

Verizon Media Group — formerly known as Oath, Verizon’s recently-rebranded media hub — is laying off about 800 jobs as the division looks to refocus on mobile and video under a new chief executive, TheWrap has confirmed.

The cuts, which represent 7 percent of its employees, were first reported by CNBC on Wednesday.

They follow a month-long review of Verizon Media Group’s business by K. Guru Gowrappan, who replaced Tim Armstrong as CEO late last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The division had 11,385 employees at the end of 2018, according to the Journal.

Gowrappan, in a memo to staff obtained by CNBC, said it was a “difficult” decision to cut the jobs. He added that VMG remains an “important part” of Verizon’s overall business and that it will continue to scale.

“In Q1, we’ll have 3 priority areas: first, grow our member-centric ecosystem with must-have mobile and video products and stem desktop declines; second, increase usage and spends flowing through B2B platforms; third, expand our video supply and overall distribution through partnerships,” Gowrappan wrote.

Under Armstrong’s guidance, Verizon closed its acquisition of Yahoo in 2017 and merged it with AOL — which Verizon bought in 2015 — under the Oath brand. The division is home to several media brands, including Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

Oath’s attempt to take on major digital advertisers, like Facebook and Google, has largely been in vain to this point, however. The company accounts for less than 5 percent of U.S. online ad sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. Verizon took a $4.6 billion write-down on Oath last month, and reported the goodwill balance of Oath, reflecting the branch’s intangible value, was about $200 million — a distinct drop from the $9 billion Verizon paid to acquire both AOL and Yahoo in recent years.