For a second time this year Vox Podcast Network parent Vox Media is instituting a round of layoffs. This time it is dismissing 39 employees in sales and editorial – including at websites such as Thrillist. No word on whether any podcast staffers were impacted. The cutback follows the layoff of 60 employees in March following Vox’s merger with Group Nine Media. With hundreds of employees, the latest cuts represent less than two percent of the Vox workforce.
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said in a memo to staff that the decisions were made against the backdrop of “economic turbulence” in the media and technology industries. “The current economic conditions are impacting companies like ours in multiple ways, with supply chain issues reducing marketing and advertising budgets across industries and economic pressures changing the ways that consumers spend,” he said. “Our aim is to get ahead of greater uncertainty by making difficult but important decisions to pare back on initiatives that are lower priority or have lower staffing needs in the current climate.” Bankoff said they were also targeting “non-essential expenses.”
Even as it trims its payroll, Vox Media has been ramping up its investment in podcasting during the past year. This week it announced Vulture, New York Magazine’s culture and entertainment site, was launching a new flagship podcast – the Sam Sanders-hosted Into It. Last month it struck a deal to bring tech and media journalist Kara Swisher to the site to host a new twice-weekly interview podcast. Vox Media’s daily news podcast Today, Explained has also expanded to broadcast radio via a distribution partnership with WNYC Studios. It also acquired Criminal Productions and Preet Bharara’s Cafe Studios, and struck partnerships with shows including The Prof G Pod with Scott Galloway, Longform, Gastropod, and Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast.
Vox Media Editor in Chief Nilay Patel told the IAB Podcast Upfront in May that their mission is clearly different. “Other networks may chase celebrities, but we chase expertise,” he said.