The head of the company that owns the former Gizmodo Media Group sites sent a dire email to staff on Saturday telling employees that the company will “experience some pain” due to the coronavirus-related economic downturn.
G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller, who oversees digital media websites including The Root, Jezebel, Gizmodo, and Jalopnik among others, sent an email to staff on Saturday titled “Brace For Impact.”
Although he cautioned that it was slightly too early to tell what the direct financial consequences of the economic slowdown would be, he repeatedly suggested that employees should “expect that picture to not be pretty.”
“This will not be an easy nor fun period for our company let alone just about any other company with our dynamics,” he said, adding “this will hurt.”
Spanfeller, who became head of the digital media company when GMG was purchased by private equity firm Great Hill Partners, told staff that he expected the site’s direct advertising to “take the biggest hit of all.”
“We are indeed entering a uniquely bad environment for the revenue side of our business,” he said. While eCommerce is up, it is nowhere near enough to offset the hit that we will almost certainly feel on the advertising side of our revenue picture.”
Spanfeller’s memo comes at a particularly uncomfortable time for the organization. The company recently relaunched sports and culture website Deadspin after the publication’s entire staff quit last year when G/O mandated that the journalists stick to sports.
A number of smaller media companies have already suffered major blows due to the market slowdown in the wake of the spread of coronavirus. Several alt-weeklies, local news magazines, and local newspapers across the country have already laid off staffers, saying that advertising revenue has already dried up.