Gannett, BuzzFeed and Verizon Media Group are all shedding employees. Gannett’s cuts will affect up to 400 employees at such papers as the Indianapolis Star, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tennessean and Arizona Republic, according to a report in the New York Post. The moves follow an unsolicited bid by Digital First Media, also known as MNG Enterprises, to buy Gannett for $1.36 billion. BuzzFeed is laying off 15 percent of its workforce, about 215 people out of a staff of 1450. BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti sent out a memo on Jan. 23 in which he said that efforts to diversify the company’s revenue weren't enough to help it achieve profitability. “The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our destiny, without ever need to raise funding again,” he wrote. Verizon Media Group, which owns brands that include TechCrunch, HuffPost and Tumblr, will lay off around 800, or about 7 percent of its employees. Last month, Verizon took a $4.6 billion write-down on the unit, which was formerly called Oath. Third-quarter revenues were $1.8 billion, a drop of close to 7 percent from Q3 2017. The company says it expects the unit's revenue will remain flat, and that a previous target of $10 billion in revenue by 2020 will not be met.
Hearst says that it racked up record profits for the eighth straight year in 2018, but it attributes one-third of those profits to its flourishing Business Media operations, particularly financial and data company Fitch Group. Hearst president and CEO Steven Swartz says that in 2019 the company expects the Business Media group to account for close to 40 percent of its profits. Swartz wrote in a memo that the Business Media assets “spring from our legacy of publishing trade magazines, have strong and stable management teams, are 100 percent digital in their delivery and are subscription-based.” However, despite the growth of the Business Media group, he said Hearst “still gets the majority of its profits from the consumer media space,” and that “our newspaper and magazine companies continue to be solidly profitable.”
Coca-Cola has called a timeout on advertising during Super Bowl LIII. After advertising during the big game for the past 11 years, the company is limiting its presence this year to a 60-second spot that addresses themes of diversity and inclusion, airing just before kickoff. While CBS is charging between $5.1 million to $5.3 million for commercial packages that run during the game, ads that run pre-game cost considerably less, with a price tag that Variety reports is “from hundreds of thousands of dollars to a few million.” Pepsi is taking a different strategy. In addition to sponsoring the halftime show, which will feature Maroon 5, along with rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi, Pepsi is running ads during the game for several of its beverages. Those ads will feature such performers as Cardi B, Steve Carell and Michael Buble. Pepsi has also blanketed Atlanta, where the game will be played, with a series of billboards. Atlanta also happens to be Coca-Cola’s home town.