Vice Media and The Economist cut jobs as coronavirus pandemic wipes out ad revenue

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Economist Group and Vice Media Group said on Friday they were cutting more than 200 jobs combined as the coronavirus pandemic devastates the advertising market.

The Economist said it is eliminating 90 non-editorial jobs and Vice Media announced in an internal memo seen by Reuters that it will lay off 155 workers, reflecting an acceleration of the news media industry’s decline during the global pandemic.

Digital media companies, including Quartz and BuzzFeed, viewed as the vanguard of the news business just a few years ago, have cut jobs, furloughed employees and cut salaries in an effort to survive the outbreak.

On Thursday, Quartz announced that it is closing four of its offices, cutting executive salaries by 20% and eliminating 40% of its staff, affecting about 80 jobs. BuzzFeed furloughed 68 employees weeks after reducing salaries for the rest of 2020.

“We aren’t seeing the return from the platforms benefiting and making money from our hard work,” Vice Media Group CEO Nancy Dub said in the letter, which also blamed technology companies for the news media’s business problems. “Now, after many years of this, the squeeze is becoming a chokehold.”

Dub said in the letter that Big Tech posed a significant threat to journalism. Google Googol and Facebook Inc FOB. have also seen drops in ad revenues since the coronavirus outbreak.

Readership across the news industry has reached record highs since the coronavirus outbreak, but advertising revenue has plunged as companies have pulled marketing budgets and some have blocked online ads from appearing on pandemic-related stories.

Vice said laid-off employees will receive severance pay and it will also pay healthcare benefits through 2020.

The Economist also said it will eliminate the print edition of its life and culture publication 1843 to save money and its chief executive and editor-in-chief are taking voluntary pay reductions.

Vice, a news and media organization targeted at millennials, is laying off 55 U.S.-based employees and 100 international staff. The company is also migrating some employees to its news division to prepare for a world news section on its international platforms.

Reporting by Arriana McLymore; Editing by Dan Grebler and Daniel Wallis