Vice Media Lays Off 15 At Viceland As Cable Network Starts Shift Toward News – Report

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Vice Media, whose news unit is becoming a bigger presence at the Viceland cable network, has reportedly laid off about 15 people at Viceland.

The workers span the programming, marketing and research departments. The cuts, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, follow the news first reported by Deadline two weeks ago that Vice News Tonight, the flagship show that once gave Vice a daily presence on HBO, is moving to Viceland.

The overall shift from lifestyle programming toward news will allow Vice to streamline operations and trim certain costs.

The company had no comment on the reductions.

In partnership with A+E Networks, one of its major stakeholders, Vice Media rebranded A+E’s H2 network and relaunched it as Viceland in early 2016. It has struggled in the ratings and has faced intensifying headwinds along with other cable programming as viewers pay more attention to mobile devices and social media.

Lifestyle-oriented networks have been hit the hardest by the decline in live, linear viewing, given they generally have few if any opportunities to drive tune-in for particular timeslots as opposed to viewers just catching up on demand. That can make life difficult for the ad sales team. Viacom, to cite one peer in the cable programming sector, recently posted its first quarter in domestic ad revenue growth in almost five years. While many other factors had put the squeeze on Viacom, the reality for its unscripted and lifestyle shows has been until recently that audiences found it skippable.

News, meanwhile, is a timely commodity and cable news networks have prospered since 2016 amid  turbulent political times. Vice News has won respect and awards for its coverage, which was developed by Josh Tyrangiel, who exited the company two months ago. His replacement, Jesse Angelo, was a longtime editor and business-side executive at the New York Post.

Under the direction of CEO Nancy Dubuc, Vice has been trying to stabilize itself and recapture its status as a media darling. Last spring it raised $250 million in debt financing from investors including George Soros.

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