Easy come, easy go – especially in the volatile world of 21st century media.
Wind the clock back to the beginning of the decade: as newspaper and magazine publishers floundered in the transition from legacy print to online and social media, commentators celebrated the ability of digitally literate rivals like Vice Media and BuzzFeed to snare millennial eyeballs. Yet those same investors now coo over the resurgence of the New York Times and The Guardian, and talk down the durability of more recent entrants to the market.
It has been an especially tough time for Vice: after reaching a valuation of $5.7bn a couple of years ago, the media owner disappointed investors including Disney and TPG Capital after missing its revenue targets in both 2017 and 2018. Under CEO Nancy Dubuc – who succeeded co-founder Shane Smith in March 2018 – Vice has announced several rounds of redundancies, restructures and strategy re-thinks in the pursuit of profitability, most recently taking the knife to its Viceland cable channel.