Funny or Die Moves to Vox Media This Summer
A little over a month after huge layoffs at the company, another big change is coming to Funny or Die. According to Variety, after over ten years on the internet, Funny or Die’s website will move over to Vox Media’s platform in a multi-year partnership that will kick off this summer. Here’s more from Variety’s report on the deal:
“It’s served us very well for the last 10 years,” said Chris Bruss, president of Funny Or Die. “But as things have changed so much over the years — and a lot over the last year or two — it was important for us to think about the future of FunnyOrDie.com.”
The companies began talks in September 2017. After evaluating various options, according to Bruss, Funny Or Die decided to throw in with Vox Media. Later in 2018, FOD will run its website and digital media business on Vox Media’s advertising, technology and audience platform (called Chorus). Funny Or Die will remain editorially independent and maintain an independent sales team but FOD will use “the ad stack” that Vox Media has created, which Bruss called a “best-in-class product.”
“As we looked to improve where the site was at now — and future-proof it — we feel that we are in good shape for years to come with Vox Media’s tools and their team,” Bruss said. As part of the move to the new platform, FunnyOrDie.com will undergo some design changes, he added.
The new deal with Vox makes sense for Funny or Die considering the layoffs that have taken place in recent years. In 2016, 37 people were laid off in a move that also closed the company’s San Mateo engineering office, then early last year the New York office was shuttered, with staffers given the option to transfer to LA. Then, this past January, Funny or Die CEO Mike Farah announced another round of layoffs, which reportedly included the entire editorial team as the company shifted its focus to TV production. “How I felt on the day of was that a ton of my friends — people who I respect a lot and who are great comedy writers — were just laid off, and at this point it was increasingly clear to me that this is not a management problem or a problem with the content that they are making,” former Funny or Die writer Matt Klinman told us after the layoffs. “The problem was that the whole business model made no sense, as far as us just putting the stuff up on the internet and us being able to make a living on it. I was just angry and frustrated and sad that you can’t make cool shit for the internet anymore and make a living.”
It’s unclear if Funny or Die will go back to web videos in any capacity at their new home, but it sounds like their focus on TV production will remain a priority, according to a statement from Vox Media COO Trei Brundrett: “Obviously Funny or Die has really premium shows they have sold and produced, and we have along the same lines started to do the same.”