News & Insights

The Deadline: Print Layoffs Mount as Billionaires Struggle to Navigate Challenges

By Paige Thornton

The Deadline - Media Intelligence Newsletter.

Key Highlights

Billionaire Media Owners Are Burning Out: A series of outlet layoffs and buyouts highlight how the billionaires are struggling to turn around their media outlets.

In Other News:

  • Broadcast/Streaming: Nielsen asserts dominance as gold standard of broadcast measurement, plus lineup updates at Bloomberg and CNN International
  • Print: Walkouts at Conde Nast, looking to sell CNET, Sports Illustrated Layoffs, The Baltimore Sun bought
  • Social Media: Potential Reddit IPO in March

Blog Spotlight: An Hour to Empower Conversation with Alex Halperin, WeedWeek, on the complex industry and navigating coverage.

Industry News

Billionaire-Owned News Outlets Are Losing Money and Slashing Staff

The News: Last week, The New York Times highlighted the ongoing revenue challenges of newspapers that were bought by billionaires over the past decade. This week, those newspapers are going through cost-cutting measures, including significant layoffs.

  • L.A. Times: Owned by billionaire businessman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the outlet saw the resignation of editor Kevin Merida and recently announced layoffs of a little more than 20% of the newsroom. In an interview with the paper, Dr. Soon-Shiong said the paper loses $30 to $40 million a year.
  • The Washington Post: Owned by Jeff Bezos, the company eliminated 240 jobs through buyouts. Employees sounded the alarm over a lack of research firepower for their articles amid these buyouts.
  • Time: Owned by Mark Benioff, the publication reportedly lost around $20 million in 2023, with executives debating cutting costs in Q1 2024. The publication just announced layoffs for an uncertain number of staffers across editorial, tech, sales and TIME Studios.

The Takeaway: Even with all the capital they’ve injected, billionaire owners are struggling to adapt newsrooms to a digital future and navigate threats such as the rise of A.I., ever-shifting news consumption preferences, and waning web traffic. Combine these challenges with losses in revenue and you get the significant cost cutting measures like these layoffs. Communications teams should expect ongoing shifts to the editorial leadership, digital strategies and staffing as these newsrooms struggle to adapt.

Bonus: Read this recent piece from The New York Times that outlines the challenges newsrooms are facing as they are plagued with layoffs, closures and reader fatigue.

In Other News


Bloomberg TV has changed its broadcast lineup starting on Jan. 22, to further expand the network’s geographic reach and coverage of global markets. These changes include:

  • The Americas: Bloomberg’s “Surveillance” program will include a new radio show hosted by Tom Keene later this year; Alix Steele will move to “Bloomberg Markets: The Close” with Romaine Bostick; “Bloomberg Markets: European Close” will end; and several radio and broadcast shows will shift around time slots.
  • EMEA: Programming will open with “Daybreak Middle East and Africa at 4 AM GMT; Tom Mackenzie will host “Daybreak Europe” at 6 AM GMT; Anna Edwards, Guy Johnson, and Kriti Gupta will co-host Bloomberg Markets Today” at 7 AM – 9 AM GMT; and Francine Laqua will continue to anchor the daily weekday program, “The Pulse with Francine Lacqua.”
  • APAC: Asia programming will start at 7 AM HKT daily, and “Balance of Power” will air globally at 6 AM HKT from Tuesday to Saturday. (Editor & Publisher (Bloomberg PR)).

Nielsen renews a multi-year deal with Fox Corp., its 30th renewal in 6 months. The deal underscores Nielsen’s dominance as the gold standard for broadcast audience measurement after facing some challenges to that status during the pandemic (Axios Media Trends).

CNN’s new boss Mark Thompson outlined his vision to step up the cable-dependent outlet’s digital strategy in a memo (WSJ).

Julia Chatterley’s business news show, First Move with Julia Chatterley, is returning to CNN International on Jan. 29 at 5 AM ET after a hiatus (TBN).

Print Media

400 Conde Nast staff members staged a walkout after CEO Roger Lynch announced 5% layoffs (WaPo).

Red Ventures, a digital media and marketing company, is exploring the sale of CNET, the personal finance, tech news and reviews website (Axios Media Trends).

Sports Illustrated laid off the majority of its staff on Jan. 19, threatening the existence of the publication (WaPo).

Sinclair Broadcast Group Executive Chairman buys The Baltimore Sun (WSJ).

Social Media

Reddit is seeking to launch an IPO in March, the first social media IPO since Pinterest in 2019 (Reuters).


The ‘Green’ Rush: The Cannabis Industry’s Rise to Fame

By Maggie Kauderer

For RF|Binder’s “Hour to Empower” quarterly speaker series, cannabis journalist and founder of Alex Halperin joined to discuss the ins and outs of the cannabis industry and the unique challenges he navigates in his coverage. Amid cannabis’ “green rush” in recent years, Alex described the fragmented nature of state legalization while cannabis remains federally illegal and how this creates challenges in building national cannabis brands. The big takeaway: no two cannabis audiences are alike, and everyone’s watching. Therefore, media professionals need to be highly discerning in their communications around cannabis. In other words, know your audience!

Sign-up for Our Newsletters

Sign up to receive The Deadline and Digital Dive weekly

You may opt out any time. View our Privacy Policy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.