Saturday, July 20, 2024

Google Killed the Media Biz: Friday Layoffs, Buyouts at Daily Beast Hollywood Reporter, The Sun, Canada Media


Google — and AI — are doing as predicted — killing oft the media business.

Yesterday there were a lot of layoffs again, all top people with a lot of experience. Forget print sales! Internet traffic is way down. It started last September, when Google employed a drastic change to it algorithm.

But now it’s even worse the web traffic, which has dropped like a stone over the last three months. Some sites have seen their readership cut in half as Google and other search engines point to artificially created links.

Yesterday, Penske Group’s The Hollywood Reporter let go of several staff including long time top TV editor Lesley Goldberg, and editor writer Rebecca Sun (who’d been laid off before and rehired). Penske owns the Reporter, Variety, Deadline, Rolling Stone, and Billboard among others. I’m told these layoffs aren’t the end.

The Daily Beast has reportedly offered buyouts to 70% of its unionized staff. Non-unionized staff is next as former Hearst editor Joanna Coles and ABC News chief Ben Sherwood take the reins to save the Beast from closing.

Over at The, there’s buzz of more were sent packing. According to Semrush, The has lost 20 million visitors since February. I’m surprised considering YahooNews just told me they’re relying on tabloid news. Go figure.

In Canada, 35 media people were laid off the by Global News. That’s in addition to 11 who already got the axe this year.

I do read snarky comments about all these layoffs who think that media people getting cut is funny, or that they deserve it. How stupid can people be? Is there really a desire for a fascist dictator — Donald Trump — and no free press? Were education programs cut so deeply in the 1980s that we have a generation of ignorance? The more media shrinks, so do the opportunities to know what’s going on in the world — whether you like it or not. The media contracts, the more you should worry.

And back to the headline: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc are the villains, and they’re doing this all unchecked. The government has yet to to intervene for any kind of oversight or regulation. We were warned about AI more than a year ago, and no one took it seriously.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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