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Pivoting Away From Video Is The New Pivoting To Video

Today news broke that Vox, a media company that owns Vox, The Verge, Racked, Recode and other news properties, will lay off around 50 workers. The cuts deal largely with Vox’s “initiatives around native social video” according to Hollywood Reporter.

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As we have written previously, Vox isn’t alone in moving away from video. Prior to the Vox news, Mic had cut staff after pivoting to video. Cracked did the same, and Vice just missed a revenue target by nine figures. Adding Vox to the mix underlines the reverse-trend. Pivoting away from video is the new pivoting to video.

The changes at Vox come in the wake of Facebook’s decision to limit video views on its social platform, undercutting the strategy of driving video viewership on external properties; if the distribution dries up, the implied, hoped-for monetization dries up as well.

If there was ever as much money in video as previously word-focused publications hoped is debatable. I lived through a video push at a publication a few years back and am utterly not convinced. Video is always twice as hard and four times as expensive as anyone expects, and a supply gut will wrangle margins to dust. (On a related note, this is why podcasting is so popular. It’s easier to create and monetizes decently.)

But there is good news on hand. The Atlantic today announced that it is working to hire about 100 new people over the next year, a “30 percent boost in personnel, with new people joining every division—from print, digital, and video to Live, CityLab, and Atlantic 57.”

How is The Atlantic making that financially possible? Here’s a hint from the same internal memo:

It’s oddly encouraging that something that wasn’t good—mass-produced social-focused god-awful video clips—is fading while consumer-financed traditional journalism is bubbling up.1 It’s now a question of when the latter can overcome the cuts brought about by the decline of the former.

  1. This is not to imply that Vox was up to such things, merely that such things were up at other publications.

Top Image Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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