This article was last updated on May 15, 2023
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The Rise and Fall of Vice
Founded in 1994, Vice Media LLC made a name for itself with its compelling mix of edgy and provocative content targeting the younger generation in magazines, TV, and online platforms. It became one of the most well-known modern media companies worldwide, with a net worth of $5.7 billion in 2017.
But as the years passed, the company started struggling to make a profit from advertising sales. By 2019, Vice had to borrow $250 million to keep its operations afloat. The COVID-19 pandemic only worsened the company’s situation, with excessive online competition and a decline in ad revenues. According to a report from The New York Times, Vice stopped repaying its $250 million loan months ago.
Vice Files for Bankruptcy Protection
On May 14, 2021, Vice Media LLC filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in the United States. This filing acts as a deferment of payment, giving the company time to restructure and settle its debts while still continuing operations.
Creditors to Take Over Vice
The next step in Vice’s bankruptcy process is for its creditors to take over the company in exchange for a $225 million debt cancellation. The sale is slated to finalize within the next two to three months. However, Vice is open to other buyers who can offer more for the company.
Vice Nederland Remains Unaffected
Vice Nederland, the company’s Dutch branch, which publishes local videos, articles, and translated articles, remains unaffected by Vice Media LLC’s bankruptcy. The branch has over 300,000 followers on Facebook and more than 100,000 on Instagram.
The State of Online Media
Vice is not the only online media company struggling financially. Buzzfeed, best known for its light-hearted lists, videos, and quizzes, recently closed its news website Buzzfeed News and laid off 15% of its employees. “We have determined that the company can no longer fund Buzzfeed News as a standalone organization,” CEO Jonah Peretti said at the time. These and other developing companies are finding it increasingly difficult to generate revenue, given the high costs of running and maintaining an online media platform.