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Update: ScoopWhoop is trimming its news operations as it lays off 14 people

Update: ScoopWhoop issued a statement about the restructuring within the company.

“We have made a few changes across all levels at ScoopWhoop to ensure we remain efficient, nimble and focused on areas that will deliver on our vision. After a rigorous evaluation process we have identified certain content genres that are no longer the focus in our next growth chapter. However, less than 10% of our workforce has been affected by this move. In fact, we are in the process of creating new content categories and to support this we will be reinforcing the team with the relevant talent.

We appreciate the contribution of the outgoing employees to ScoopWhoop and remain committed to extending full support and utmost respect as they transition to new opportunities outside the Company.”

Earlier: Online media company ScoopWhoop is restructuring its news operations has laid off around 14 people, reports VCCircle. The publication added that eight members were in the core news team and six members in the design team were affected. An additional 10-15 employees have also put in their papers at the company.

Late Wednesday night, informal news groups on WhatsApp started circulating messages that around 60 employees were laid off from ScoopWhoop. However, Sattvik Mishra. co-founder and CEO of ScoopWhoop told the publication that the 60 employees in the news section being laid off were untrue and that the layoffs were part of the performance review. He added that the company will continue to hire more people to join the company. ScoopWhoop has a strength of 170 and around 40 employees were in the news division,

Sources in the company and those were laid off said that there was pressure from investors to stop covering news related to politics and the government on the site. Mishra responded that 3-4 people who were looking at politics exclusively were merged into the editorial team.

ScoopWhoop’s investors include Kalaari Capital and Bharti Softbank. ScoopWhoop raised $4 million in a round of funding from Kalaari Capital in November 2015 while it raised $1.6 million from Bharti Softbank (BSB) in exchange for a 36.5% stake in November 2014.

Distress in media companies

There has been distress in media companies in recent times due to falling ad revenue and many have had to scale back operations.

  • Earlier this year, as part of the cost-optimization programme, HT Media pulled shutters on four editions and three bureaus, including its business bureau in Mumbai and Delhi, laying off an unknown number of journalists. Many estimate that 150 journalists were forced to resign from the company.
  • HuffPost and the Times of India Group have ended their partnership last month but saw a round of layoffs as well in June.
  • The ABP Group has reportedly fired around 700 employees in February. Details in Outlook.
  • Globally, BuzzFeed is trimming its staff size by 100 as it struggles with advertising.
  • Vice Media has laid off 2% (around ~60 people) of its workforce in July as it increased its focus on video. Note that Vice Media is entering India through a partnership with the Times Group’s Times Bridge. The two joint ventures will be formed between the companies with one for television and the other for digital. A news bureau and production house will be opened in Mumbai to create original content for distribution across television, mobile, digital, among other platforms.

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