With layoffs, Bleacher Report does away with its user-generated roots
By Sahil Patel
Bleacher Report is finally washing its hands of the amateur contributor business the company originally made its name on.
As reported by Politico, Turner-owned millennial sports publisher Bleacher Report has laid off about 50 employees. A majority of the cuts were within the editorial operations department — junior copy editors and similar roles that were responsible for managing articles and other posts submitted by Bleacher Report’s fleet of amateur writers and list-makers, sources said. With Bleacher Report investing more on higher-quality content, including original video and prominent writers like Howard Beck, these positions were no longer necessary to the company.
“Some of our colleagues will be parting ways with the company this week, as their positions no longer align with current organizational goals,” said Bleacher Report CEO Dave Finocchio in a staff memo.
A source stressed that these layoffs are an “isolated situation” to eliminate parts of the business that were no longer a priority. Last year, Turner committed to investing $100 million on Bleacher Report over the course of three years as Bleacher Report attempts to build a social- and sports-centric lifestyle brand for younger males. That’s still the plan. In his memo to staff, Finocchio pointed out how Bleacher Report has added 170 employees in the past year with 45 more positions it’s still looking to fill. Additions include a branded content team and a team dedicated to creating original entertainment programming. Overall, Bleacher Report has about 400 employees.
That said, while video remains a priority, some video staffers were among those to be laid off. With Bleacher Report looking to produce fewer traditional, in-studio shows (mostly focused on sports analysis and commentary), some staffers involved in those productions were let go, a source said.
“I do want to emphasize, contrary to a report earlier today, we could not be more committed to video – especially those offering compelling storytelling and which are shareable in nature – as well as college football coverage,” said Finocchio in the memo. “They are both very important to our business and will remain so.”
Here’s the full memo:
As you all know, Bleacher Report and our collective industry are rapidly changing and B/R is accelerating at a tremendously fast pace. We’ve grown considerably over the last few years and we continue to make strategic decisions to further invest in our people and provide all of you with the resources needed to foster continued growth for our company.
We are succeeding. Our brand has never been stronger, especially when it comes to driving a deep connection between our premium content and the engagement with it from our core millennial fan base. Simply put, no publisher has positioned itself as well as B/R in this area.
And, while we have earned a leadership position, we are doubling down with ambitious goals for 2017 and beyond. Last year, Turner announced an incremental $100 million investment in B/R over the next few years. I’m pleased to share we are already seeing positive results stemming from that decision.
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