Australian Vice publisher axes left-wing titles, flags job cuts

Nine-owned Pedestrian Group is set to undergo drastic changes with job cuts and closures of third-party websites as CEO steps down.

Australian Vice publisher axes left-wing titles, flags job cuts
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The wave of job cuts in Australia's media industry continues as Nine Entertainment’s Pedestrian Group announces a major overhaul, resulting in the closure of its third-party websites and significant staff reductions.

The left-wing Pedestrian Group, which manages its own Pedestrian and Pedestrian.TV sites along with Australian versions of brands like Vice, Refinery29, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Kotaku, confirmed the drastic changes on Monday.

CEO Matt Rowley revealed he would be stepping down as part of the restructure, which includes the dissolution of all third-party sites.

"We’ve made the tough decision to focus on our wholly-owned Pedestrian brands where we control the strategy, the content, the product, the sales and the outcome – the entire business," Mr Rowley stated in a message to employees.

This decision will predominantly affect staff based in Surry Hills, who will not be transitioned to Nine’s North Sydney offices.

The announcement has sent shockwaves through the industry, especially as it follows Nine Entertainment's recent mass layoffs in its broadcast TV and metro newspaper divisions.

Just weeks earlier, it seemed Nine’s digital assets would be spared from the cuts attributed to declining ad revenue and the conclusion of Meta’s significant content deal with publishers.

Pedestrian Group has struggled with the broader downturn in advertising revenue across traditional media, with funds increasingly redirected to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Despite these challenges, Monday’s news came as a surprise, particularly given Nine’s strategy to boost ad revenue with extensive coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The search for a new CEO for Pedestrian Group is already underway, with an announcement expected soon.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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