Vice Media Group is undertaking a new restructuring plan — and shedding more staff — in the wake of its bankruptcy and asset sale.
The cutbacks and reorg were announced by co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala in a memo to employees of the Brooklyn-based media company Thursday.
A “number of Vice News shows have reached the end of their production cycle and have not been renewed with distributors as of yet,” the CEOs wrote in the memo. “As such, we will be winding down those productions and sadly this will have an impact on certain roles.” Prior to its bankruptcy filing earlier this year, Vice Media made layoffs in its news division and said it was ending “Vice News Tonight,” its nightly show on Vice TV that had previously aired on HBO.
In addition, Vice Media is consolidating its lines of business, going from five to two. Under the new structure, the two business segments are: Publishing, News and Creative Services, comprising publishing teams across entertainment and news, as well as in-house creative agency Virtue and the company’s commercial group; and Studios, Television and Distribution, combining the Vice Studios Group (Vice Studios, Pulse Films), Vice News Films, Vice TV and distribution.
The layoffs will result in fewer than 100 job eliminations, per a source familiar with the situation. Vice Media currently has a bit over 1,000 staffers worldwide; at one point, it counted about 3,000 employees.
Vice Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, after months of struggling to pay its bills, and in July closed a $350 million sale to its lenders — a fire sale for the company that had once boasted a valuation of $5.7 billion. Following the bankruptcy sale, several top execs left the company including Katie Drummond, SVP of global news and entertainment, who subsequently joined Wired.
Read the memo from Vice Media’s co-CEOs:
Today, we’re taking a series of steps in line with the strategic direction and imperatives that we outlined in our email on September 29.
First, a number of Vice News shows have reached the end of their production cycle and have not been renewed with distributors as of yet. As such, we will be winding down those productions and sadly this will have an impact on certain roles. If your job is impacted, you will be hearing directly from the HR team today. To be clear, Vice News is not going away. Vice will continue to produce digital news, as well as Vice News documentaries, both series and films, for FAST Channels, streaming services and other partners.
Second, alongside these actions, we are also taking this moment to restructure our overall corporate organization. Starting today, we will be beginning the transition from five distinct lines of business to two. This reorganization will result in the following two dedicated LOBs:
Publishing, News and Creative services: This group will include our Publishing teams across Entertainment and News, as well as Virtue and our commercial group
Studios, Television and Distribution. This group includes our Vice Studios Group (Vice Studios, Pulse Films), Vice News Films, Vice TV and distribution.
The transition to two dedicated LOBs will help us work more effectively towards our shared creative and business goals, better align our people and resources, and allow us to capitalize on the unique opportunities that lie ahead. The combined business units provide a more cohesive, collaborative and focused structure that will enable us to better amplify our content across multiple products and distribution opportunities. It will also allow us to streamline our overall corporate infrastructure, reducing overhead across the business. The transition will not happen overnight. The leaders of each LOB will follow up with further information about their go-forward plans.
Similarly, we are continuing with our market review, which may include country or market closures, to reallocate our resources to drive profitability, which is an imperative in the current market environment and for the long-term health of the Company. As we work through these reviews, we will share further information with you.
We understand that this is a lot of information, and it means a number of our colleagues across the business will be departing. Many have made enormous contributions to VMG over the years and we’re deeply grateful to them.
This is a difficult period for media at large, as evidenced by all the restructurings and changes across the sector. We aren’t immune to these challenges. But our strategic moves today will help our business become nimble enough to adjust to continuous change, allowing VMG to continue to serve our consumers, partners and distributors while putting ourselves in a place to weather the current market.
There is much work ahead and the path forward will contain further challenges, but Vice is an incredibly strong brand and has an important place in this world. We are all stewards for VMG’s brand legacy and most importantly champions for the brighter, stronger future ahead.
Bruce and Hozefa