the management evokes “worrying” finances, the employees denounce a bad strategy

Vice France will no longer exist by the end of March. Paul Douard, the editor of the pure player, as well as several members of the editorial staff announced the death notice of the French office after fifteen years of existence, Monday February 27 on Twitter. Twenty-five people on permanent contracts are expected to be made redundant by the end of next month for “economic reason”.

The 100% digital media also fed its site by calling on freelance journalists who will soon bear the brunt of this sudden disappearance. With its editorial line combining serious investigations and original testimonials, particularly recognizable with catchy titles and a free, even irreverent tone, the pure player for 15-35 year olds had known how to distinguish itself from its competitors. Raw, Slate, The Huffington Post or Konbini.

The announcement comes four days after the resignation of Vice Media’s chief executive, Nancy Dubuc, as the group fails to monetize its audience and is reportedly looking for a buyout. Valued at $5.7 billion in 2017it would be worth considerably less today, around 1.5 billion, according to the wall street journal.

Read also: Vice France will cease its activities, announces its editor-in-chief

“Blinkers” and “condescension”

Contacted, the company did not wish to comment, but argued in particular in a letter sent to its employees and that The world was able to consult, that she does “faced with a worrying financial situation for several years” and “the health crisis linked to Covid-19 has reinforced the existing difficulties”. Vice Media has chosen to close its French subsidiary, after its Spanish office in 2020, believing that the economic situation will continue to deteriorate in 2023.

But this version is difficult to digest for the employees of the French media. Internally, on condition of anonymity, we deplore the “bad strategic choices” such as the closure of the Virtue advertising agency in 2020 or the reduced wing for the iD vertical, a platform highlighting talents in fashion, culture and youth. Former deputy editor Louis Dabir also judged on Twitter Monday that Vice France had been “very badly exploited by the American and English leaders, chained by their blinders and their condescension”.

If the advertising turnover of the French branch had decreased from 5 million to 4 million euros between 2021 and 2022, it has started to rise again since the beginning of 2023, assure several sources. Arguments that did not convince Vice Media. The European director of human resources summoned the employees for an online call on February 3 to announce to them, the same day, the intentions of the American group founded in Canada in 1994. A decision officially confirmed to the employees on February 23.

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