The once great and powerful Vice Media has filed for bankruptcy protection resulting in a fire sale to a consortium. Vice News and Vice TV was once valued at $6bn but with Chapter 11 filing the entire company is up for grabs.
Vice Media made a foray into the art world in 2016 with the purchase of a controlling stake in Garage Magazine. The art and culture publication was founded by Dasha Zhukova, the former wife of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Other print magazine purchases by Vice in recent years included fashion glossy I-D purchased in 2012. Garage was later bought back by Zhukova. Controlling stakes returned after which the publication named after the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art also founded by Zhukova has continued to publish the magazine.
This week Vice agreed on a deal for $225m selling off the group. The company assets include Vice News, Motherboard, Refinery29 and Vice TV. The consortium taking over the brand comprises Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital who will form the credit bid. Its assets and Vice’s “significant liabilities” will be covered. Existing investors in the business will most likely be wiped out, including James Murdoch, who invested through his holding company Lupa Systems, Disney and the private equity group TPG. Last month Vice’s largest competitor BuzzFeed closed its award-winning news operations and Vox has announced staff cuts across its business.
Vice Media is a Pulitzer Prize winning global, youth media company that was founded in 1994. It initially started as a print magazine in Canada but has since expanded its reach and offerings across various media platforms. Vice Media produces digital content, television shows, documentaries, films, and news coverage focusing on youth culture, politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.
The company gained popularity for its alternative and edgy approach to storytelling, often covering topics and subcultures not extensively explored in mainstream media. As a result, vice Media has grown into a multimedia empire with offices and operations in multiple countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
Over the years, Vice Media has faced both success and challenges. It has attracted significant investment from various sources, including major media companies, and rapidly expanded its content distribution channels. However, it has also faced financial struggles and restructuring to adapt to changing media landscapes.
Online news media groups generate revenue in a number of streams:
Advertising: Online news platforms often rely on advertising as a primary source of revenue. They sell ad space on their websites or within their articles and videos, and advertisers pay for exposure to the platform’s audience.
Subscriptions: Some online news media groups offer premium or exclusive content behind a paywall. They charge users a subscription fee to access this content, providing a recurring revenue stream.
Sponsored content: News platforms may collaborate with brands to create sponsored content, where advertisers pay for articles, videos, or other forms of content that promote their products or services. This allows them to monetise their platform while maintaining editorial independence.
Events and conferences: Online news media groups often organise events, conferences, or workshops related to their content. They sell tickets to these events and generate revenue through sponsorships and partnerships.
Syndication and Licensing: Online news media groups may license their content to other platforms or media outlets, domestically and internationally, to reach a wider audience and generate licensing fees.
Donations and memberships: Some online news platforms rely on donations from their audience or offer membership programs where users can contribute financially to support the platform’s journalism.
It’s important to note that the success and profitability of online news media groups can vary widely, and many platforms use a combination of these revenue streams to sustain their operations. The evolving digital landscape and changing consumer behaviour present ongoing challenges and opportunities for online news media groups to adapt and find sustainable business models.