Video Killed the Internet Star

In the 19 years since Guido was founded we have seen a lot of fads come and go, along with investors’ money and the existence of the publications themselves. Who now remembers Westmonster?

Vice was supposedly a supernova multi-billion dollar digital media company that was going to replace MTV and CNN with its new stylised video-journalism, which seemed to produce warzone reports in the manner of a music video. In 2017 Vice was valued at $5.7 billion, Guido could never figure out how Vice made money. There was very little traditional advertising. There were “brand partnerships” with cool brands. Cool brands which didn’t seem to be marketing their products, just associating themselves with another cool brand –Vice. Eventually the brands suffer a comedown from being associated with rockstar war reporters and stop wasting their money on “partnerships”, instead concentrating on boosting e-commerce markegting. Because you know what is the coolest thing? Making a profit.

Buzzfeed and its listicles have blown hundreds of millions of their investors’ money. Now they claim AI will save them from bankruptcy. Which seems to Guido to be an admission that they are completely exiting the business of journalism. Good luck to those who still have jobs at Buzzfeed subsidiary HuffPo…

Vice going bankrupt and taking down with it investments from the likes of Disney, James Murdoch and George Soros goes to show how hard it is to make video journalism pay. Guido makes occasional forays into video; these are expensive in terms of time and manpower. We have yet to figure out how to make them commercially viable. All credit to the likes of Novara Media getting supporters of their world view to finance their output – which is basically a left-wing version of radio phone ins where the presenters aggregate and regurgitate the prejudices of their audience, slicker and better with added access to talking heads. It works and we have considered it and tried it ourselves. At the end of the day we’re in the business of breaking news… and making profits.

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Vice Staff’s Four-Day Week Campaign Hits a Snag

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…

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Feminist Fight Club Vows to Destroy Tories and Smash Patriarchy

“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.

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Corbyn as David Brent

Credit to Jon Harvey for cutting Vice News’ Corbyn documentary to turn him into David Brent from The Office. Genius…

mdi-timer 3 June 2016 @ 11:43 3 Jun 2016 @ 11:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Corbyn on Camera: BBC Biased, Freedland “Disgusting”

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:

  • Corbyn says the BBC is biased against him: “There is not one story on any election anywhere in the UK that the BBC will not spin into a problem for me. It’s obsessive beyond belief. They are obsessed with trying to damage the Labour Party.”
  • In a phone call with Seumas Milne, Corbyn accuses Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland of “utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness” for writing about anti-Semitism: “He’s not a good guy at all. He seems kind of obsessed with me.”
  • Dopey aide Gavin Sibthorpe says of Labour plotters: “If they want to get rid of him the best thing would be to wait and let Jeremy fail on his own. I don’t think he will, but fail in his own time.”
  • Corbyn’s team wanted him to mention IDS’ resignation in his response to Cameron in the Commons, but he overruled them.
  • Corbyn’s despised aide Andrew Fisher opines: “George Eaton is the worst judge of anything.”
  • Seumas Milne overshares that a member of Corbyn’s team regularly leaks his PMQs prep: “It’s very annoying. It only happens about a third of the time but whenever there’s a leak it gives them an advantage.”

Well done to whichever bright spark thought this would be a good idea for Jezza…

mdi-timer 1 June 2016 @ 07:50 1 Jun 2016 @ 07:50 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Profitless Buzzfeed Misses Revenue Target


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. 

mdi-timer 13 April 2016 @ 16:34 13 Apr 2016 @ 16:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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