New York Magazine

After days of rumors, Vox Media confirmed that it will be furloughing around 100 staffers for three months as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis.

In a company-wide memo seen by WWD, chief executive officer Jim Bankoff said this is the equivalent of around 9 percent of the workforce and is driven by a plunge in advertising as companies slash their marketing budgets.

On the editorial side, staffers at SB Nation and Curbed will be among those “disproportionately” effected, while noneditorial furloughs will occur in areas including IT, office operations, sales, production and events. It’s not known if anyone at New York Magazine or The Cut, which Vox acquired last year, will be impacted.

Vox will also reduce hours for about 1 percent of employees over the same period by as much as 75 percent, while there will be a tiered pay cut starting at $130,000.

Employees who earn between $130,000 and $199,999 will take a 15 percent pay reduction, while those making $200,000 and over will have their pay cut by 25 percent cut. Bankoff and president Pam Wasserstein, formerly ceo at New York Media, will see their salaries reduced by 50 percent cut.

“The extent of our revenue declines are unforeseen, and I don’t want to speculate on their full severity since the range is wide, but we know they will be sizable, in the tens of millions,” Bankoff said.

He explained that weakness in March, driven by the cancellations of SXSW and March Madness, the collapse of travel, sports and fashion-related advertising, and other factors, led Vox to miss its revenue goals by several million dollars in the first quarter. He believes the impact will be “significantly greater” in the second quarter.

Vox is also expected to be hit by Amazon cutting its commission rates for its affiliate program Amazon Associates from 8 percent to 3 percent for certain products from 5 percent to 1 percent for groceries, starting next week.

Publishers such as Vox, BuzzFeed and The New York Times get commission for linking to Amazon products in buying guides, according to CNBC.

The Vox furloughs caps off another rough week for media jobs. Earlier this week, Fortune laid off 35 employees, around 10 percent of the company globally, while Valence cut roughly a third of newsroom positions at The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard and Condé Nast plans to temporarily reduce salaries and furlough some workers.

The L.A. Times also furloughed a number of employees not in editorial and its parent company set plans to close some community papers.

Other media companies that have already revealed cuts include Bustle Digital Group, BuzzFeed and Group Nine.

For more, see:

Vox Asks Readers for Donation to Make Up for Advertising Slump

L.A. Times Furloughs Non-Union Workers, Cuts Senior Staff Pay

Condé Nast to Cut Pay, Furlough Some Staffers

 

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