Vice Cuts ‘Several Hundred Positions,’ Shutters News Site

CEO Bruce Dixon writes in a memo to staff that the media company will put “more emphasis on our social channels as we accelerate our discussions with partners”

Bruce Dixon Vice
Vice CEO Bruce Dixon (Credit: Vice Media Group)

Vice Media has ceased to publish on its news website and plans to lay off “several hundred” staffers, according to an internal memo sent from CEO Bruce Dixon to staff on Thursday. 

“After careful consideration and discussion with the board, we have decided to make some fundamental changes to our strategic vision at Vice,” the memo read. 

The note to staffers says that it is “no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously,” and as a result, the company will be shutting down its news operations.

Vice plans to lay off “several hundred” staffers in the process. 

Additionally, the media company will transition to a “studio model,” partnering with “established media companies to distribute our digital content, including news, on their global platforms.”

According to one staffer, the Vice content management system to publish stories on the website has already been shut down.

The memo also addressed Refinery 29, a Vice-owned media brand, which will not be shuttered in the process and will “continue to operate as a standalone diversified digital publishing business, creating engaging, social-first content.”

However, Vice confirmed that they are engaged in “advanced discussions to sell this business,” which they plan to continue and will announce more in the coming weeks.

On Wednesday evening, Vice staffers received an anonymous tip that the website was going to be shuttered, sending the editorial staff into a panic. As of Thursday, employees were acting as though they were about to lose their jobs, “scrambling to save clips” from their time with the digital publication.

The once vibrant media company, which was at one point valued at $5.7 billion, has now seen a massive fall from grace.

Vice was sold to a Fortress-led consortium for $350 million in July 2023, including owners Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital. The acquisition of Vice came after a tumultuous financial year for the digital media outlet, where the company filed for Chapter 11 that May.

Vice has seen a steady departure of staff in the last six months between layoffs and voluntary exits since the company was acquired out of bankruptcy. 

Read the full memo to Vice staff below:

Dear Vice Team, 

As we navigate the ever-evolving business landscape, we need to adapt and best align our strategies to be more competitive in the long term. After careful consideration and discussion with the board, we have decided to make some fundamental changes to our strategic vision at Vice. 

We create and produce outstanding original content true to the Vice brand. However, it is no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done so previously. Moving forward, we will look to partner with established media companies to distribute our digital content, including news, on their global platforms, as we fully transition to a studio model. As part of this shift, we will no longer publish content on vice.com, instead putting more emphasis on our social channels as we accelerate our discussions with partners to take our content to where it will be viewed most broadly. 

Separately, Refinery 29 will continue to operate as a standalone diversified digital publishing business, creating engaging, social first content. As you know, we are in advanced discussion to sell this business, and we are continuing with that process. We expect to announce more on that in the coming weeks. 

With this strategic shift comes the need to realign our resources and streamline our overall operations at Vice. Regrettably, this means that we will be reducing our workforce, eliminating several hundred positions. This decision was not made lightly, and I understand the significant impact it will have on those affected. Employees who will be affected will notified about next steps early next week, consistent with local laws and practices. 

I know that saying goodbye to our valued colleagues is difficult and feels overwhelming, but this is the best path forward for Vice as we position the company for the long-term creative and financial success. Our financial partners are supportive and have agreed to invest in this operating model going forward. We will emerge stronger and more resilient as we embark on this new phase of our journey. 

Thank you for your continued dedication to Vice and support during this time of transition. Together, I am confident that we will overcome any challenges and achieve our shared goals. 

Bruce 

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