Vice Media and Vice.com Are Essentially Dead

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ZombiePie

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#1 ZombiePie  Staff

Well... shit. Vice.com and Vice Media as a brand seems to be completely dead. Last year Vice Media filed for bankruptcy and deployed a massive string of layoffs as it prepped a sale of itself to American investment management and private equity firm, Fortress Investment Group. Vice Media's assets include Vice News, Motherboard, Refinery29 and Vice TV. Today, Vice's new management have announced that they gutting several hundred of Vice's remaining staff and that Vice.com will no longer post new and original reporting on Vice.com.

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Vice.com and its YouTube account were among the best at reporting the rise of extremism in the United States and around the world and it proved to be a jumping ground for many people in the press, including the games press, in getting a start. Vice Media also funded Waypoint before shuttering it 2023. Waypoint’s original editor in chief was former Giant Bomb staff member Austin Walker and worked alongside Patrick Klepek, Gita Jackson, Renata Price, Niki Grayson, and many others to create an absolutely incredible video game site covering all parts of the hobby alongside important news reporting about the industry.

What is especially tragic is that, as The Guardian reported in 2023, one of the original parties interested in acquiring Vice Media after it filed for bankruptcy was named GoDigital and included in its bid a plan to preserve the original scope of editorial content for each of its assets and websites. Instead, Vice Media's original CEO and ownership moved forward with filing for bankruptcy.

A source disclosed to the Guardian that GoDigital, a privately held multinational group that owns the Latino digital media company NGLmitú, music distributor Cinq Music, and more, had been in negotiations to acquire Vice, but that fell through.

In a statement to the Guardian, GoDigital said they “developed a plan not just for the survival of Vice and its brands, but for their rejuvenation, growth, and expansion” and “put in a bid that properly reflects a future where everyone has a stake”. They claimed to have “worked until the last minute to make adjustments that would help meet a productive compromise” but ultimately “the sellers and we have different values”

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bigsocrates

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Vice always managed to combine great reporting and content (at least some of it) with scummy management and practices. When those two come together the scummy management and practices will always win. This is also why Deadspin got gutted among many other sites.

The crisis in media is in part brought about by changing readership and viewership and advertising practices, but also largely by scumbag management and investors who aren't happy with small reliable profits and often either overexpand in pursuit of more or sell out to an investment company that will gut the business for parts. That has happened to countless local papers and smaller outlets that were making money but not ENOUGH money. It's what happened to Waypoint.

Large media companies can do things that independent journalists or small publications can't. They can sink cash into lengthy investigations and build legal teams to defend reporters. They can spend money on stories that may not pan out at all. They can let reporters focus on reporting and not business or ad sales.

Every time one of these companies fails it hurts the people laid off, of course, but it hurts society too. It's one less outlet to chase down hard to find truths and force them into the light of day. One less place that good writers can find a home to actually write.

But time and time again management does not care. They treat journalism like it's a commodity. If the numbers aren't going up fast enough then aggressively pursue increased revenue even if it ends up destroying the business, then float on your golden parachute off to a tropical island where you don't have to see the carnage.

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infantpipoc

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Got to say, a positive review of Starfiled on Vice seemed very troubling.

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AV_Gamer

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#4  Edited By AV_Gamer

Vice had some great insider reporting, especially when it came to reporting stories about criminal organizations around the world. But at the same time, the company was run by a complete a-hole. So I can't feel too sorry for them.

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Ben_H

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The demise of Vice has to be one of the best textbook cases of executive hubris destroying a media company in existence. This was a company that was basically being tailored to sell to Disney around 2014-2015 and got a multi-billion dollar offer from Disney only for executives to reject the deal because they believed a completely insane separate massively over-inflated valuation of the company and viewed Disney's offer as too low. They turned a company fielding multi-billion dollar offers into nothing. Not that it matters to any of them since they were all paid exorbitantly anyway.

Then there's the fun part where after the founders disappeared, the management left in charge were essentially looting the company for themselves while laying off staff. Remap (former Waypoint) have been covering the demise of Vice on and off. Rob talked about how they were in a layoff meeting run by a particular HR executive at Vice. It later came out in court filings that this executive was among a group who signed off on paying themselves extremely generous (five to six figure) bonuses in the couple days between the mass layoffs at Vice and the company filing for bankruptcy. This is after this manager spent a meeting telling folks that they didn't have any money left and had to cut divisions and staff to survive. That's the kind of people who were running Vice. They didn't care about journalism or the people they were technically in charge of. They only cared about themselves and their careers.

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mach_go_go_go

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@infantpipoc: I'm very confused by this. Troubling in what way? What does that have to do with the original topic?

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If you've got the money I highly recommend subscribing to 404 Media. Some folks from Motherboard split off to make it. It's worker owned and has been putting out incredible work. Also sign up for Remap they're great.