The Ax Swings at Univision

As the November book winds down, layoff season is gearing up. 

Its the time of year where stations and networks make huge deposits of political cash into their accounts and then start slashing jobs for the next year. Is this a great industry or what. 

The Spanish-language media giant, Univision Communications says that will chop around 250 jobs off the payroll and send about 6% of their workforce packing. 

The Washington Post says that the layoffs, along with a planned restructuring, “are in response to difficult times, challenging times,” Isaac Lee, Univision’s digital, entertainment and news chief said. “We need to position ourselves for the future.”

As its traditional audience of Latino television watchers becomes older or cuts the cord, the company will also continue to chase what it sees as its savior: the English-language, digital, millennial audience.

Univision made a surprising move in that direction last summer when it paid $135 million for the media companies associated with Gawker, the Manhattan-based media gossip site. Gawker was forced to file for bankruptcy as a result of a crippling $140 million jury award in the Hulk Hogan sex tape suit. The suit was financed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, in retribution for Gawker’s outing him as gay in 2007.

After purchasing the Gawker websites, including the sports site Deadspin and the tech site Gizmodo, Univision immediately closed Gawker itself. Last month, Univision drew criticism for eliminating several articles from those sites that were involved in lawsuits.

Many of the layoffs will be at Fusion, a site aimed at multicultural millennials.

The majority of Fusion’s editorial staff voted last week to unionize. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that, according to employees, executives had discouraged that development.

Lee said that the layoffs involve business-side and editorial employees throughout Univision.

As part of the restructuring, Fusion and the Root will join Gizmodo Media Group, the former Gawker sites: Deadspin, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku and Jalopnik.