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Vox Media lays off 5% of its staff as the pivot-to-video bloodbath continues

Vox Media lays off 5% of its staff as the pivot-to-video bloodbath continues
[Photo: Flickr user David Zhou]

Vox Media just laid off around 50 people, reports the Hollywood Reporter. The teams most impacted are RackedCurbedSB Nation, and the company’s video services teams, said Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff in a memo to staff. About a dozen others are being offered role changes. This comes just a month after Vox Media’s editorial staff successfully unionized.

According to Bankoff, these cuts are due to “industry changes over the past few months and our long-term budgeting process.”

The “native social video” team was hardest hit, even though, says Bankoff, it was “growing successfully and surpassing their audience targets.” Media companies last year scrambled to cash in on the video gold rush. Since Facebook was giving preference to this sort of content, companies thought they could make more ad dollars. Now, Facebook has made an about-face and is de-emphasizing posts from brands and publishers, leaving companies that went all-in on social video in a lurch. Similar layoffs have been announced elsewhere.

Bankoff, in his memo, said the company needed to cut initiatives that “won’t be viable audience or revenue growth drivers for us relative to other investments we are making,” later adding that the company is in a “strong place.” Sources tell me that individual brands are having all-hands meetings today, and Bankoff will be doing a roundtable Q&A next week.

I will update this story if I learn more. Feel free to reach out if you know anything about the cuts or Vox Media’s strategy/plans.

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