HuffPost laid off 11 full-time employees and two contractors in its video department on Thursday, citing a new video strategy that will focus on “high audience engagement.”
Among the cuts were five managers, video producers, camera operators, on-screen talent and several branded shows the department was working on. A company spokesperson released a statement, saying HuffPost was “realigning its video strategy.”
“We remain deeply committed to quality journalism and what matters most to our diverse audiences across the globe,” the spokesperson said. “HuffPost is realigning its video strategy to invest and allocate resources to support its core areas that have high audience engagement, differentiation and are poised for growth as we continue on our mission to provide a voice to all people.”
HuffPost’s video strategy has shifted dramatically over the years. The publication pioneered a daily streaming news service with the 2012 launch of HuffPost Live. As costs mounted and competition increased, the project was shuttered in 2016 and folded into the larger video department.
Over the past two years, HuffPost and a number of other newsrooms made a push into so-called OTT, or “over the top,” shows that could be licensed to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Roku. But that sector took a hit this year as HBO canceled its Vice News show and Netflix declined to renew its BuzzFeed show for another season.
This is the second round of layoffs this year for HuffPost, whose parent company, Verizon Media, also oversees Yahoo and AOL. Verizon Media in January laid off about 750 employees as part of a $4.6 billion write-down ― that included about 20 HuffPost employees across the United States.
HuffPost unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East in 2017.
“Days like today are a reminder of why we formed a union and the importance of advocating for our colleagues, including securing guaranteed severance after layoffs,” read a statement the union released on Twitter. “We encourage everyone to organize their workplaces.”
The announcement came on the same day that Sports Illustrated announced sweeping cuts to its staff, with some reports suggesting that the company would lay off up to 50 percent of its full-time employees.