Univision Is Said to Offer Buyouts to Gizmodo Media Workers

(Bloomberg) -- Univision Holdings Inc. has been offering buyouts to employees at Gizmodo Media Group, according to a person familiar with the matter, marking the latest case of a digital-media upstart tightening its belt.

The former Gawker Media websites, which include the sports outlet Deadspin and the woman-focused site Jezebel, began offering employees buyout packages last week, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The idea is to reduce Gizmodo’s budget for editorial employees by 15 percent, the person said.

The New York-based company hasn’t determined how many employees need to accept buyout offers before it resorts to layoffs, the person said. The cuts don’t affect other Univision-owned properties, such as the Onion and sister website Clickhole.

Other digital-media companies, including BuzzFeed Inc. and Vox Media, have laid off employees over the past year as the industry retrenches. Facebook Inc. and Google are capturing the biggest chunk of online advertising, forcing cuts at digital publishers. Facebook also changed its algorithm recently, shrinking the audience for many online news outlets.

Gizmodo Media is one of several online media outlets that have unionized. They are represented by the Writers Guild of America East.

Months of Negotiations

The Gizmodo Media Group Union said on Wednesday that it demanded the buyout agreement, which was the result of months of organizing and negotiations with Univision about the circumstances, terms and length of severance for its members.

“The GMG Union and Writers Guild of America East are glad to have reached an agreement with the company, and believe other union newsrooms should fight for the same,” it said.

Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., faces other challenges. It’s been slimming its operations amid tougher competition from Comcast Corp.’s Telemundo and pays higher fees to Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa SAB for programming. Univision plans to cut more than $100 million in expenses this year, Bloomberg reported in March.

Univision bought the former Gawker Media websites for $135 million in a 2016 bankruptcy auction.

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