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Buzzfeed Layoffs Last Week, Now Vice Media Wields The Axe

Another new age media Company is struggling to stay afloat days after Buzzfeed moved to lay off 50% of their workforce in Australia.

Vice Media who have 61 employees in Australia is the latest media company to be swept up in a recent wave of layoffs as they burn through investor capital.

Vice’s layoffs come just a week after Buzzfeed said it would cut 15% of its workforce, or about 200 jobs, and Verizon Media Group, which includes HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL, eliminated 800 positions.
The Company that is Melbourne based claim to have 37 staff in Melbourne and 12 in Sydney.

Chief Executive Officer Nancy Dubuc announced the major reorganisation that will see 10% of their staff sacked.

Vice who are desperate to find a revenue stream that will sustain the Company, now wants to focus on film and television production, as well as branded content which organisations such as News Corp and Nine are already delivering for clients.

“Having finalized the 2019 budget, our focus shifts to executing our goals and hitting our marks,” Dubuc said in a memo sent to staff. “We will make Vice the best manifestation of itself and cement its place long into the future.”

Media analyst Ken Doctor said the media world, digital and print alike, is impacted by the Google-Facebook duopoly.

Together with Amazon, these digital ad dynamos capture a combined 62% of the digital advertising markets leaving revenue scraps for media companies that rely on advertising sales to underwrite the cost of business.

The layoffs at Vice and Buzzfeed come as Australia’s major media companies are facing a testing ­advertising market ahead of a General Election and a move by Amazon to expand their operations in Australia.

Currently much of the focus is on the pace of integration at Nine Entertainment following its $4 billion mega-merger with Fairfax Media claims the Australian.

Ad veteran John Steedman said “Obviously, with the elections coming up, businesses tend to pull back because the airwaves are dominated by the political parties,” said Mr Steedman, referring to the NSW election on March 23 and the federal election, which must be held before the end of May.

Other headwinds include a potential change of government at the federal level as well as economic uncertainty, including Brexit and the impact of US President Donald Trump.

News Corp’s strong start to the 2019 financial year is expected to continue, thanks to its vast digital real estate operations and the consolidation of its Australian television operation Foxtel last April.

At the time of its first-quarter results in November, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said the new financial year was off to an “impressive start”.

Analysts claim that Vice’s job cuts are not altogether unexpected. Last year they had a hiring freeze, as it attempted to reduce its workforce through attrition. Now, it has taken the more drastic step of job cuts.

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