LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Vice Media is expected to cut its workforce by 10 percent, or 250 people, starting today as part of a strategy by CEO Nancy Dubuc to make the media company profitable.
Vice is attempting to streamline a business that grew exponentially in the digital boom and a spokeswoman told The Hollywood Reporter that the cuts are consistent with reorienting Vice’s efforts toward film and television production and branded content. All departments, from IT to finance to television, are expected to have layoffs, according to THR.
“Having finalized the 2019 budget, our focus shifts to executing our goals and hitting our marks,” Dubuc wrote in a memo sent to staff this morning. It was shared with the trade magazine. “We will make Vice the best manifestation of itself and cement its place long into the future.”
Dubuc, former A+E chief, became CEO in May, with co-founder Shane Smith taking the role of executive chairman. The 25-year-old company, which began as a punk rock and fashion magazine with characters like Smith and Gavin McInness, now has a valuation of $5.7 billion with more than $1 billion in investments from companies like Fox and Disney, according to THR. Dubuc made it clear that there would be changes, telling the trade mag last year, “The question isn’t if we’re going to be profitable but how soon, and it’s sooner than most people think.”
One source said Vice is expecting revenue growth of 15 percent this year. It had a round of layoffs in 2017, cutting 2 percent of staff.
Investors are growing antsy for the company to find a buyer, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Disney took a $157 million write-down on its Vice stake in November.
Employees in the U.S., U.K. and Canada are expected to be notified today with the remainder of the cuts coming over the next weeks, THR said.
The cuts include getting rid of the company’s flagship show “Vice” on HBO, according to Marketwatch. Some of the staff will be redeployed into new documentary products. Other areas of the business, including Vice’s digital news desk that contributes about 20 percent of the company’s revenue, will grow, the source said.
The trimming follows similar streamlining at Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.