Layoffs hit Univision, Fusion

Univision headquarters in Doral on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.
Univision headquarters in Doral on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.

Univision Communications Inc. will lay off 200 to 250 editorial and business-side employees, many of them from the Spanish-language network’s fledgling Fusion Media Group multiplatform endeavor.

The layoffs were announced Wednesday following a third-quarter loss of $30.5 million on revenues of $735 million.

The Washington Post reported that Univision will shed 6 percent of its workforce as part of a restructuring overseen by Isaac Lee, chief news, entertainment and digital officer for Univision.

The network acquired the assets of Gawker Media Group, now Gizmodo Media Group, in August for $135 million. The portfolio includes popular websites such as The Onion, The AV Club and The Root.

Under the restructuring, Onion president and CEO Mike McAvoy will now oversee ad sales and revenue for the entire Fusion Media Group network, including, the English-language news and entertainment site geared for millennials.

“Unfortunately, as a result of some of these changes, and along with a broader streamlining of operations across Univision, some positions across FMG’s business, operations, and editorial teams are being eliminated,” Mr. Lee wrote in an e-mail memo sent to staff on Wednesday morning.

“Constantly adjusting our scale and our processes is a reality of the business we are all in, and is not unique to us. As you have all no doubt read in recent weeks, media companies of all sizes are having to better manage costs and staffing levels. For us, these necessary changes come as we look to strategically bring together several distinct digital media companies into one powerful and nimble digital publishing entity, with many distinct passion points for many distinct, growing groups of readers, listeners and viewers.”

Fusion news director Aleksander Chan has taken to Twitter to voice his displeasure about the cuts, stating he had lost at least three key staff members.

“To call this a bloodbath is a staggering understatement,” he said.

Fusion was launched as a joint venture between Univision and Disney-owned ABC News in 2013. Univision bought out Disney’s stake in the cable TV/online network in April for an undisclosed amount. Univision has been in the process of preparing an IPO over the last year.

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald