Vice France throws in the towel | The echoes

Posted Feb 27 2023 at 06:11 PM

“End clap”. It is by captioning his tweet that Paul Douard, editor-in-chief of Vice Media in France, seals the closure of the French office of this provocative American media, a online news pioneer but who has the greatest difficulty in finding a buyer. In trying to play down, Paul Douard evokes the “frustration of losing a media with a tone, a freedom and daring choices. Something rare today”. Opened fifteen years ago, the French office of Vice will close by the end of March. Its thirty employees would inevitably remain on the floor.

New sales process

Anyway, the announcement of the closure of Vice in France comes as the parent company is in the midst of a governance crisis. Its general manager, Nancy Dubuc, announced on Friday that she will be leaving the company. Barely a month ago, Nancy Dubuc decided to create an ad hoc committee to find a buyer for Vice, restarting a sale process that had been put on hold.

A difficult task when the advertising market is not very buoyant for a medium that had been the darling of financiers. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, Vice generated around 600 million in revenue in 2022, a hundred million less than expected in its objectives. And Vice is still not profitable.

Valuation peak in 2017

Born as an “underground” magazine in Canada nearly thirty years ago, Vice quickly settled in New York and was one of the first media to bet on the Web. A pioneer with the creation of a video platform in 2006, it has also developed a lot internationally. A success that had attracted many investors, including disney , and which had allowed Vice to reach the valuation of 5.7 billion dollars in 2017. A level that will shrink like a trickle. In 2022, a valuation of 1.5 billion was rather mentioned in the press. more complicated for Vice and the group has multiplied redundancy plans in recent years.

Partnership with M6

Too much ambition or bad timing? However, the large investments made over the years have increased debt even as revenues are under pressure due to the sluggish advertising market. Present in many countries and has even just opened a new regional office for the Middle East in Riyadh. Vice operates several brands including fashion magazine “iD”, audiovisual production studios Pulse and advertising agency Virtue .

Vice also has television activities. Last March, the American media had allied with M6 . In their partnership, Vice brings a hundred hours of content to the free online platform 6play with French-language programs. Asked about the consequences of the closure of Vice’s French office on the agreement between the two groups, M6 sees no impact on the content offered by 6play until the end of the partnership.

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