Vice Media Group has been forced to announce a new round of staff sackings in light of its ongoing financial struggles and “need to realign toward profitable areas of the business” – not least video content. Last night, the Vice Union tweeted their devastation at the 17 layoffs, “in what has become a macabre annual ritual at this company.” If it’s an annual ritual it begs questions about their continuing shock…
While the layoffs have taken place across the pond, the UK Vice Union branch were quick to extend solidarity to their felled colleagues in the account’s first tweets since May. Before the news of these sackings, the account had last been tweeting about their campaign for “a four day week with no reduction in pay! 🎉”
“This would make us the first major news publisher to adopt a 4 day week. After a long hard year that showed work practices can change without the company imploding, it’s time to rethink how we work. We hope Vice embraces the potential to be a pioneer!”
They were at least correct about it being a “long hard year” for the company. Their diagnosis that Vice had avoided implosion, however, now seem like a very low bar upon which to build such a utopian campaign…
“Queer feminist fight club Femme Feral offers women and femme-identifying people a place to express their rage about the Conservative government through body-slams and dropkicks.” Important investigation from Vice News.
Credit to Jon Harvey for cutting Vice News’ Corbyn documentary to turn him into David Brent from The Office. Genius…
Vice News have been granted access to film a behind-the-scenes documentary with Jeremy Corbyn and his team. What could possibly go wrong?
Here are the top lines:
Well done to whichever bright spark thought this would be a good idea for Jezza…
The Financial Times reports that Buzzfeed fell short of its 2015 revenue target by 30% and has slashed its 2016 target by 50%. It took Guido 4 years to make a profit. No one ever said it was easy, overnight success generally takes years. Buzzfeed, the cool new kid on the block, has been going 9 years without making a profit. Nine years…
During those 9 years it has burned through hundreds of millions of dollars without paying investors a cent back. Smart people buy into the Buzzfeed concept, that it can reach millenials on their phones and on social networks with viral content as well as disguised advertising in the form of snarky content. They also have a conventional website famous for cat videos and lists. To make advertisers feel better about the online context of their paid content, Buzzfeed has branched out into serious content from serious journalists, with serious investigations and even some politics. It gives the Buzzfeed brand more journalistic credibility. Which goes comparatively unread.
Business Insider, Huffington Post and Vice News are all engaged in an online land grab, promising investors they will grab the global audience first and make profits later. Business Insider sold to Axel Springer for a cool $442 million last year. Outside the US it was not making a profit – though Insiders told Guido they were no longer losing money in London. Insider has a model that makes sense, aiming at time-pressed people interested in business. HuffPo aims to maximise traffic through aggregation and SEO optimisation, selling conventional display advertising – the AOL parent has a massive digital advertising sales operation. Vice is apparently to the millenial generation what MTV was to their parents and appears to be making money hand over fist.
The risk for Buzzfeed investors is that people no longer want the funny GIFs once they graduate, get a job and get busy. This leaves them with teenage “trash-traffic” of appeal only to generic advertisers who won’t pay high prices. Advertisers also worry, now that the novelty has worn off, that the advertorials don’t work or worse still, don’t fit their advertising goals.
Asked a question about patronising young voters at Labour’s ‘Youth Manifesto’ launch, Ed successfully managed to patronise young voters. Here is his exchange with former Telegraph investigations reporter Ben Bryant, now at Vice News:
BB: “Hello, Ben Bryant from Vice News”
EM: “From where?”
BB: “Vice News.”
EM: “Oh right. What does Vice News do?”
BB: “We make films, we write stories.”
BB: “So one of the criticisms of this election campaign has been how controlled it is. You yourself have only done one walkabout with voters so far. Don’t you think that all of this stage management bullsh*t is particularly alienating young people?”
EM: “I don’t think you count as stage managed, do you Ben?”
No wonder they were keeping him away from questions…