Vox Media has announced the lay-off of 50 employees due to industry changes that have caused the media company to readjust its strategy. Recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm are forcing publishers to shift strategy, and Vox is only one of many who are forced to make changes in order to keep up with competition. It was also stated that most of the cuts were derived from employees working for Racked, Curbed, and SB Nation.
In the beginning of this year, Facebook stated they were changing how they will rank content in their News Feed, in an attempt to prioritize more user-friendly content. There has been a recent wave of discontent in the content presented on user’s News Feeds, so Facebook now prioritizes posts from friends and family over posts from various publishers.
This has specifically dealt damage to media companies like Vox Media, because Facebook has a large audience that Vox has been targeting for years now. With a smaller market for advertising and promotional videos relating to Vox Media, they’re forced to make cuts and reduce their workforce in particular subsections that no longer need a larger employee base.
These layoffs are another example of how digital media companies rely on social media outlets to promote their brand. Their success is typically contingent on whether or not social media giants frame their interface to help promote advertisers and content creators, and when incentives are lowered, companies like Vox Media must find other ways to create revenue.
Since Facebook and Google are responsible for capturing larger shares of online advertising, it was reported that some publishers missed their annual revenue goals last year. This explains why the layoffs happened in the respective departments; this also forces Vox Media to expand its content network to attract more users. They’re planning to expand their podcast network and are also keen on producing shows for television, such as A+E Networks programs. According to Bankoff, Vox Media’s audience grew by 20 percent across all its websites over the past year.
Vox Media isn’t in a threatening situation, but it is in need of some adjustments. If the company continues to lack in certain areas, more layoffs are imminent. However, with their $200 million investment from Comcast Corporation’s NBCUniversal, their future seems to be in relatively good hands.