Univision is sidelining multicultural millennials and trying Gawker’s tried-and-tested methods

Layoffs are coming to Fusion.
Layoffs are coming to Fusion.
Image: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
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Univision is retreating from the multicultural audience it has been courting.

The Spanish-language media giant is slashing nearly 6% of its workforce, which comes out to 200-250 jobs, the Washington Post reported. Many of those layoffs will reportedly be at Fusion, which it launched in 2013 as a joint venture with Disney to provide an outlet for diverse millennials. As Gawker loved to point outover and over again, hardly anyone was reading or watching it. Sam Biddle, then a writer for Gawker, once wrote of one story:

…only 32 people were reading a post titled “Hot Girls Wanted: A disturbing, behind-the-scenes look at how ‘amateur’ porn is made.” It is the most popular story on the entirety of—and if you can’t get people to click something about naked teenage girls on the internet, something is deeply wrong.

Fusion’s web traffic was about five million unique users as of April 2015, the site told the New York Times (paywall). But the Times also reported that Fusion’s web traffic fell as low as 23,000 page views on some days in 2014. None of this was cheap to run. Fusion paid a pretty penny to staff the outlet with renowned journalists like Felix Salmon and The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, who was the publication’s editor-in-chief for a time. Disney dumped its stake in Fusion earlier this year, which pushed Univision to take full control of the company.

Univision is still going for millennials—just more of them than it found with its previous attempts. So where is Univision looking for audience growth? Towards the wreckage of Fusion’s old nemesis, Gawker.

Univision—which lost $30.5 million last quarterbought bankrupt blog network Gawker for $135 million this year, which runs a series of niche sites for tech, women, autos, and so on, including Gizmodo and Jezebel, that cumulatively have a wider reach than Fusion. Gizmodo had about about 36 million global unique visitors over the past month, according to digital-audience measurement firm Quantcast.

As part of the restructuring, Fusion’s site and The Root, a publication geared toward African Americans, will reportedly be rolled into Gizmodo Media Group—the renamed Gawker Media that includes every site but the original Gawker blog, which disappeared after the sale. Gawker Media was forced into bankruptcy by Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel.

The Spanish broadcaster also has stakes in English-language digital properties like The Onion, A.V. Club, Clickhole, Starwipe, and Flama, which make up Fusion Media Group. After acquiring the former Gawker brands, Univision’s digital properties reached over 73 million unduplicated monthly unique visitors in September, the company said in an internal memo that was obtained by TVNewser.

Univision did not immediately return Quartz’s request for comment.