Once a titan of liberal media, a controversial outlet now faces the harsh reality of bankruptcy as its sensationalist approach ultimately leads to its downfall.
The leftist media giant Vice Media once valued at nearly $6 billion is now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Despite having attracted investments from major players like Disney and Fox, Vice has been unable to find a buyer for its controversial and unconventional programming. Sources who spoke to the New York Times revealed that at least five potential buyers have walked away after examining the company’s financial state.
Now, Vice representatives estimate that any sale would yield a meager price tag of less than $1 billion. Fortress Investment Group, Vice’s majority owner, is desperately trying to recoup costs by orchestrating a fire sale, especially after providing the struggling media outlet with a $30 million lifeline earlier this year.
Vice’s financial troubles have escalated to the point where some vendors are resorting to debt collectors in anticipation of the company’s demise.
The rapid rise of digital media has fueled intense competition, causing Vice to lose advertising revenue to rivals like Google and fall short of its revenue estimate by a staggering $100 million in 2022. Once a prominent HBO production, Vice’s contract was not renewed after a seven-year run, and it moved to Showtime for a mere two seasons.
The company had garnered critical acclaim for its edgy, gonzo-style journalism, particularly in its coverage of foreign affairs, with reporters filing segments from remote locations such as North Korea.
As bankruptcy looms, Vice executives are considering alternative options, including selling off the business in pieces. Refinery29, a women-centric digital brand, the in-house marketing agency Virtue, and Vice Studios, the video production arm, might all become separate purchases, allowing Fortress to recover some of its investment. Disney, a minority stakeholder, has already written off its investments, meaning it will not see any proceeds from a potential sale.
Vice’s impending collapse follows the recent closure of Buzzfeed News, another liberal media outlet that emphasized flashy production and over-invested in its newsroom. Unable to attract the advertising dollars necessary for sustainability, Buzzfeed News ultimately had to shut its doors in March.
The downfall of both Vice and Buzzfeed News showcases the inherent flaws in liberal media outlets that prioritize sensationalism over substance, leading to their inevitable decline.
WATCH the video below for more details: