Vox Media is cutting 50 jobs, or about 5% of its workforce, as the publisher scales back some of its digital initiatives, mainly in online video projects and native social video.
About a dozen other Vox Media employees will be moved to different roles at the company.
The cuts were announced in a memo from Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff to staff Wednesday. He called it “one of the toughest days we’ve had as a company.”
The layoffs mostly affected Racked, Curbed, SB Nation and the video services team. Vox Media is also letting go of some employees who are part of the company’s union, which is under The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE).
Vox Media also owns Vox, The Verge, Eater, Recode and Polygon.
Despite the company’s video initiatives “growing successfully and surpassing their audience growth goals,” Bankoff said that “due to industry changes over the past few months and our long-term budgeting process,” those initiatives “won’t be viable audience or revenue growth drivers for us relative to other investments we are making.”
Last month, Bankoff informed staff in a memo of the year-over-year growth in unique audiences for Vox Media’s brands in 2017. The Verge’s audience grew by as much as 86% year-over-year, for example.
But in his recent memo, Bankoff said scaling back certain initiatives will ensure the company can “solidify our long-term financial stability in an unpredictable macro and micro environment” and “invest more resources in high-return areas,” such as expanding its real estate and IT.
Other publishers have recently scaled back under-performing digital initiatives.
Last week, CNN was reportedly planning to let go of around 50 employees to cut new digital projects that hadn’t “paid off," according to Matt Dornic, CNN's vice president of communications.
At the end of last year, Refinery29 fired 34 staffers -- about 7.5% of its workforce -- from its payroll to cut costs.
Vox Media has more than doubled to nearly 1,000 employees in the past two years.