The Atlantic

The Media’s Post-Advertising Future Is Also Its Past

Why the news is going back to the 19th century
Source: Brendan McDermid / Reuters

It’s my holiday tradition to bring tidings of discomfort and sorrow to my colleagues in the news business. One year ago, I described the media apocalypse coming for both digital upstarts and legacy brands. Vice and BuzzFeed had slashed their revenue projections by hundreds of millions of dollars, while The New York Times had announced a steep decline in advertising.

Twelve months later, it’s end times all over again. There have been layoffs across Vox Media, , and (and dubious talk of an ). , once valued at $100 million, most of its staff and sold for $5 million. Verizon took a nearly $5 billion write-down on its digital media unit, which includes AOL and Yahoo. Reuters announced plans to lay off more than 3,000 people in the next two years. The disease seems widespread, affecting venture-capital darlings and legacy brands, while punishing international wires. Almost no one.

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