Vice Media to Shrink Workforce as Growth Stalls


Vice mislaid some-more than $100 million in 2017 and is on lane to remove some-more than $50 million this year, people informed with a matter said.

At a house assembly in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Vice Chief Executive Nancy Dubuc suggested a association concentration on areas of growth, such as a in-house promotion agency, Virtue, and make some-more radio shows and cinema for third parties.

The devise summarized by Ms. Dubuc, who took over from co-founder Shane Smith in May, radically shifts Vice’s importance divided from a kind of online calm that creatively put it on a map for immature users, though struggled in new years as trade stalled.

Vice runs some-more than a dozen online “verticals” such as Munchies for food, Noisey for song and Broadly for women. Ms. Dubuc skeleton to overlay several of them into between 3 and 5 verticals, according to people informed with a matter.

To revoke conduct count, Ms. Dubuc released a companywide employing solidify about 6 weeks ago, withdrawal about 220 positions open during a association of 3,000 employees, according to a people. Through that solidify and healthy attrition, she skeleton to slim down Vice’s ranks by between 10% and 15% overall, they said.

Web trade to Vice’s possess sites has declined to 27 million singular visitors in Sep from 36 million dual years earlier, according to comScore.

Ms. Dubuc’s devise represents a annulment of fortunes for Vice, that billed itself as singly means to attract millennial audiences and drew investment and partnerships with

Walt Disney


21st Century Fox

and WarnerMedia’s HBO, now partial of


The retrenchment comes amid a broader unemployment in digital media, as rivals such as Vox Media and Refinery29 missed income targets in new months, with a latter announcing final month it was laying off about 10% of a workforce.

Some of Vice’s problems are singular to Vice. The association launched a wire channel, Viceland, in 2015 usually as wire television’s decrease was accelerating, and has struggled to adjust to a broader informative change powered by a #MeToo transformation that hasn’t always sat good with a macho, devil-may-care hipster brand.

Ms. Dubuc took a reins from Mr. Smith progressing this year in a arise of reports of passionate nuisance during a association that stirred apologies from Vice for what it called a “boys club” culture.

In a matter to The Wall Street Journal, Vice’s house of directors touted a company’s “diversified income streams” and pronounced it would keep growing.

“At a time of seismic change opposite a media landscape, Vice has never been improved positioned to continue a conspicuous growth,” a house said.

Vice has diversified in several realms over digital media, many particularly with an Emmy-winning weekly uncover on HBO. That understanding is adult during a finish of a year and hasn’t nonetheless been renewed, according to people informed with a matter.

Vice’s digital business, once a categorical pull for eye-popping, eight-figure promotion deals, has in new years found it harder to representation itself in that executive purpose as trade has dropped.

Vice in a past sole a series of multimillion-dollar deals for sponsored calm and normal ads to marketers like consumer-goods giant


PLC, brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev SA and insurer Geico.

But some of a partnerships haven’t aged well. Although Vice was best famous for a ability to ring with immature men, in 2015 Vice sole Unilever on a flourishing womanlike audience, according to a customer presentation, pitching a association on sponsoring a new female-focused straight called Broadly.

Broadly featured a series of Unilever’s delicate caring brands, including Vaseline, Tresemmé and Dove. Over some-more than dual years, Unilever paid Vice some-more than $15 million, including normal ad commitments, according to people informed with a deal.

Unilever satisfied that Broadly wasn’t always reaching a preferred consumers. Broadly viewership was diseased compared with that of Unilever’s other ad campaigns, according to a 2016 Unilever news reviewed by a Journal that analyzed some Broadly rendezvous data.

Unilever eventually finished a sponsorship of Broadly and changed most of a spending to Virtue, according to some of a people.

Some of Vice’s leaders have voiced doubt that a association will be means to grasp profitability usually by slicing costs and changeable investment to some-more remunerative divisions, and instead contingency lift income once again, according to people informed with a matter.

Adding to Ms. Dubuc’s hurdles is final year’s $450 million investment from TPG that gives a account a right to get a income out initial and enhance a holding over time—terms seen as impediments to attracting some-more collateral or offered a company, some of a people said.

Mr. Smith, now Vice’s executive chairman, has trafficked to both Saudi Arabia and a United Arab Emirates this year to negotiate deals, a people said. Some of a people pronounced these deals usually concerned calm partnerships, while others pronounced they also enclosed talks with sovereign-wealth supports about intensity investment.

Mr. Smith’s visits to Saudi Arabia occurred progressing this year, before a murder of publisher Jamal Khashoggi stirred tellurian snub opposite a country’s climax prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

Write to Keach Hagey during, Benjamin Mullin during and Alexandra Bruell during


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