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Mashable Fires News Staff, Replaces Executives as Part of Pivot to Video Infotainment

The chief content and revenue officers have been replaced.

Amy E. Price / Getty

Last week, the digital publication Mashable said that it had raised $15 million in a funding round led by Turner and that it would be using the money to “co-develop” content for TBS and TNT.

Today, the other shoe dropped. The company announced that it is replacing its chief content and revenue officers — Jim Roberts and Seth Rogin — and firing a large portion of its editorial staff. Additionally, Mashable is pivoting from hard news coverage; it will focus on producing lots more video about “digital culture.” According to Politico and a Mashable editor, 30 people were laid off.

Mashable’s new chief content officer is Greg Gittrich, who previously held the same position at Vocativ, a digital publication that is tonally a lot like Mashable. The new CRO is Ed Wise, who previously ran branded content at Funny or Die and Turner Broadcasting.

Both Wise and Gittrich come from digital outlets with a video-heavy focus, while the execs they replace are both former higher-ups at the New York Times. In a statement provided to Re/code and in a LinkedIn post written by Mashable founder and CEO Pete Cashmore, Mashable has effectively conceded that it has to start producing more video — lots more — in order to stay alive.

“We are now equally adept at telling stories in text and video, and those stories now live on social networks, over-the-top services and TV,” Cashmore wrote. “Our ads live there too, with branded content now at the center of our ad offering.”

Across digital media, publications are dumping resources into making video. The ads on video are more lucrative, and social media platforms are offering publishers tools like Snapchat Discover and Facebook Live with the promise of expanding their audiences. In some instances, those platforms are even paying publishers to come aboard.

Prior to its deal with Turner, Mashable said at SXSW last month it signed with NBC Universal’s Bravo TV channel to make four six-episode Web series. At the end of last year, reports emerged that Mashable was looking for a buyer in the $300 million to $350 million range.

The company declined to give more information about the number of staffers let go. It appears the cuts took staffers by surprise.

Note: A rep for Mashable says the above tweet’s claim about the number of staffers let go is inaccurate. Oertelt was either using hyperbole, or referring to the editorial video team specifically.

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