Mainstream media bloodbath: News outlets slash jobs as business suffers
Nearly a dozen mainstream media companies are gutting staff and scrambling to rescue their struggling businesses.
Why it matters: The media business is shrinking at the national, state and local levels — a scary, stark new reality for thousands of journalists.
The big picture: Media cuts were so severe last year that most industry observers weren't expecting such intense cutbacks in 2024. But an ongoing bloodbath is decimating news outlets nationwide.
- It's also fueling a new round of conflict between unions and management as tensions run high.
- Insider announced it was eliminating 8% of its workforce, months after a union strike over a contract impasse with management.
- The New York Daily News editorial union walked off the job Thursday to protest "chronic cuts" by its owner, private equity firm Alden Capital.
- Paramount CEO Bob Bakish warned employees Thursday that the company is planning a fresh round of layoffs.
- The Los Angeles Times planned a one-day, multicity walkout in protest of plans for 115 job cuts. Two top editors resigned, less than two weeks after executive editor Kevin Merida stepped down.
- Condé Nast saw hundreds of union workers walk off the job Tuesday to protest hundreds of previously announced layoffs impacting approximately 5% of staff, or roughly 300 people.
- Sports Illustrated's newsroom was gutted by sweeping layoffs after its parent company, The Arena Group, failed to make a $3.75 million quarterly payment to the group from which it licenses the Sports Illustrated brand.
Several media companies are also trying to sell some of their most recognized brands in an effort to free up cash:
- BuzzFeed is having conversations about selling two of its premier brands, Complex and Tasty.
- Red Ventures is trying to dump CNET.
- Paramount is having conversations with multiple potential buyers or merge partners, including Warner Bros. Discovery and Skydance Media.
How we got here: Ad growth in the 2010s was unsustainably high, and publishers acted like it would last forever.
- It didn't. Now high interest rates are preventing them from taking on new debt to try to buy themselves time to figure it out.
What we're watching: Heading into 2024, analysts predicted that digital advertising will only grow in the mid-single digits for the foreseeable future.