Media Insider: Meta cuts 10,000 jobs, Group Black makes bid for Vice Media
Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.
Meta to cut 10,000 more jobs, eliminate 5,000 openings
Axios | Sara Fischer
Meta is laying off 10,000 people and cutting 5,000 open roles as part of a larger plan to flatten the company’s management structure. It’s the second round of layoffs to hit the tech giant in the past few months; in November, Meta cut 13% of its staff, or more than 11,000 people. The first round of cuts was attributed to broader efforts to withstand any further downturn in the economy. This round is meant to refocus the company’s workforce around strategic priorities. As a result, the company plans to cancel a number of “lower priority” projects. For example, the company will wind down support for NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. The company will first be reducing the size of its recruiting team to account for lower hiring rates. It will announce further restructuring and layoffs in its tech departments in late April and then in its business departments in late May.
Morning Brew also laid off 40 employees as part of the digital news outlet’s second round of layoffs.
Group Black Places $400M Bid to Acquire Vice Media
AfroTech| Ngozi Nwanji
An investment firm is potentially looking to increase Black ownership in the media industry. Group Black, a collective of Black-owned media and diverse creators, has reportedly placed a $400 million bid to acquire Vice Media. The potential acquisition comes after the digital media company restarted its sale process at a lower price tag. While Vice Media was once valued at $5.7 billion in 2017, it would now likely fetch a price lower than $1 billion. Group Black was co-founded by Richelieu Dennis, Travis Montaque, and Bonin Bough, and is composed of over 150 Black-owned media brands, including ESSENCE, Afropunk, and PlayersTV.
The Messenger, a Media Start-Up, Aims to Build a Newsroom Fast
New York Times | Benjamin Mullin
Jimmy Finkelstein’s winding career in publishing has included running and being a part-owner of The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill, which he sold to broadcast giant Nexstar for $130 million. Finkelstein is now planning to launch The Messenger, a news site that will cover politics, business, entertainment, and sports. Financed with $50 million in investor money, the site will start with at least 175 journalists stationed in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. Finkelstein said he plans to have around 550 journalists, about as many as The Los Angeles Times, within a year. His goal is to create an alternative to a national news media that he says has come under the sway of partisan influences. The site will be free and supported by advertising, with an events business to follow.
Also launching: Mental and Health Awareness magazine, a quarterly magazine providing education, resources, and treatment options for parents, families, and educators.
Florida lawmakers advance bill making it easier to sue media outlets for defamation
WFLA | Libbey Dean
Florida Republicans advanced a bill Tuesday making it easier to sue the media for libel. HB 991 “provides that journalist’s privilege does not apply to defamation claims when defendant is professional journalist or media entity.” State Rep. Alex Andrade is sponsoring the legislation in the House and says his policy would lower the threshold to bring defamation cases and limit who is considered a public figure. “The bill doesn’t change whether or not a public figure has to prove actual malice. It just provides certain specific examples where actual malice really should be presumed,” Andrade says. Some legal experts have raised First Amendment concerns and predict legal challenges that could potentially reach the Supreme Court if the bill is signed into law as is.
Amazon to Halt Subscriptions in September
MediaPost | Ray Schultz
Amazon, which had already stopped selling periodical subscriptions online, said this week that existing subscriptions will no longer be available on Kindle after Sept. 4 — nor will single copies. At that point, the company will shutter the Kindle Newsstand. Kindle Unlimited, which serves other forms of content, apparently will survive. “Following an assessment of our magazine and newspaper subscription offerings via Newsstand, we have decided to discontinue the individual subscription programs for both print and Kindle, including Kindle single issues,” Amazon said in an email to publishers. Print subscribers will be unable to manage their subscriptions after June 5.
ICYMI: Playboy is relaunching as a digital-first publication in an attempt to take on OnlyFans.