Univision Says It’s Exploring Sale of Former Gawker Sites and the Onion ⇥ variety.com
Univision Communications is officially looking to unload the Gizmodo Media Group — which mostly comprises the sites it acquired in the bankruptcy auction of Gawker Media — and its stake in comedy and entertainment publisher The Onion.
The GMG digital portfolio includes Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Splinter, The Root, Kotaku, Earther and Jalopnik and The Onion portfolio includes, The Onion, Clickhole, The A.V. Club and The Takeout.
Max Tani posted the email Univision CEO Vince Sadusky sent to all staff:
[Gizmodo Media Group] and The Onion are great assets. I read The Onion regularly in college and the many Gizmodo brands have become key sources for content to tens of millions of consumers.
Who writes like that? Also, a 53 year-old CEO referencing his long-past college years is not the first time that a Univision executive was kind of a dick about the Onion. Apparently, the company’s “head of digital” couldn’t remember a single article from the site that he liked.
Worth reading is this piece from May, by Kate Conger, David Uberti, and Laura Wagner, and published at the Univision-owned Special Projects Desk:
From routine human resources fuckups to vastly overselling the prospects of an IPO whose ultimate doom this March precipitated the company’s current cost-cutting spree, Univision has been deeply mismanaged and is in the midst of making huge cuts that have, among other things, already claimed vast swaths of Univision Noticias—the most vital newsgathering operation serving the Spanish-speaking community in the U.S.—and Fusion Media Group. Consultants from Boston Consulting Group, who have reportedly recommended budget cuts of up to 35 percent in some parts of the company, have been combing through the books for months, and more than 150 people have been laid off so far. Plenty more cuts are pending (Univision president of news Daniel Coronell reportedly described them as “catastrophic” to his newsroom), including at GMG, the staff of which fears the newsroom may be cut by up to a third by the end of June, perhaps as part of a broader pivot toward video and branded content. What is happening to the company is not ultimately a failure of editorial or even executive management, though: If Univision was a mammoth whose failure to adapt slowed it down, it was private equity investors, consumed by the thought of turning their riches into more riches, who brought it down and bled it dry.
Gizmodo, the Onion, the AV Club, Deadspin, the Root, Jezebel, Splinter — these publications are good, and the (semi-)indie media landscape would be worse if they did not exist. The predicament they face now is due in part to an excessively-aggressive settlement for publishing a Hulk Hogan sex tape, and now because of vulture capitalists of the type that also decimated Toys R Us.