Vice is abandoning and laying off hundreds

In a memo to employees, Vice Media CEO Bruce Dixon says the company is laying off hundreds of employees as part of a shift to social channels.

After nearly three decades, Vice will stop publishing stories to its website. Vice Media CEO Bruce Dixon said today that the company is going to lay off hundreds of employees as it plans a shift toward social platforms, according to a memo to employees obtained by Washington Post reporter Will Sommer.

“It is no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously,” Dixon writes. “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.”

Vice has been struggling with many of the same challenges affecting other companies across the media industry. Advertising has become a less lucrative way to monetize content, and audiences are becoming more difficult to reach directly. That’s why Vice is moving toward new revenue streams, such as licensing out its content and focusing on social platforms with bigger scale.

Earlier on Thursday, Vice writers began backing up their content after an anonymous tip suggested the site would be shutting down. It’s still not clear whether Vice will shutter its website altogether — as we’ve seen with The Messenger — or if the website will remain online but inactive. The Verge reached out to Vice for more information but did not receive a response before publication.

Dixon says the layoffs will affect “several hundred” employees. He adds that Refinery 29, which is also owned by Vice Media, will “continue to operate as a standalone diversified digital publishing business” even as the company looks to sell the site.

Vice started publishing at in 1996, but it shifted to publishing on in 2011 when it merged with its video-focused experiment (and managed to acquire the domain). The company’s future has remained uncertain since last year. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the struggling media company was acquired by a group of its lenders. The company laid off dozens of employees in November 2023 and canceled some of its shows.

The digital media landscape has contended with some serious obstacles within the past year, resulting in layoffs across the industry. This month alone, the Yahoo-owned Engadget laid off its editor-in-chief and other senior staff members, while BuzzFeed said it will lay off 16 percent of its staff. The Intercept and Now This were also struck with layoffs.

Yahoo laid off Engadget’s leadership and BuzzFeed is cutting 16%

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