Apr 7, 2020 - Economy

Group Nine Media lays off 7% of staff during coronavirus crisis

Ben Lerer

Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Group Nine Media, which includes digital lifestyle brands like The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist, Seeker and PopSugar, is laying off 7% of its employees, according to sources familiar with the cuts. A smaller percentage of employees will be furloughed.

Why it matters: It's one of the many media companies that's been forced to take drastic measures to survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

Details: The cuts are companywide, according to a source familiar with the situation. They will impact people who work across most of the company's individual publishing brands, as well as people who work in shared services.

  • A little over 700 people will be employed at Group Nine Media after the cuts, meaning that around 50 people in total will be laid off.
  • Several employees began tweeting about getting laid off on Tuesday, including at least two food editors.

Between the lines: Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer announced two weeks ago that the company would be taking measures to ensure economic stability during the crisis, but layoffs were not announced at the time.

  • What was announced was that the company would be reducing the compensation of the executive leadership team, including brand leads, by roughly 25% for the remainder of 2020. Lerer would give up about six months' worth of pay.
  • The company said it had frozen all open roles and backfill positions and had eliminated its summer internship program for 2020.
  • It said it had drastically cut other areas of discretionary spending including content promotion and was pausing all nonmandatory merit increases across the entire organization until further notice — stating that the environment wasn’t one in which they could responsibly give these raises. The company said it was temporarily suspending matching on its 401(k) starting April 1.

The big picture: Group Nine Media is far from alone in taking drastic steps to survive this crisis. The pandemic is forcing dozens of major media companies, including newer, digitally native media companies, to carry out layoffs and pay cuts.

Go deeper:

More about Group Nine Media:

Go deeper