Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

New Media Pink Slips Cost Less Than Old Media Pink Slips


Image copyright R. Gino Santa Maria

One of the many differences between old media companies and new media companies: It’s a lot cheaper to fire people at new media companies.

AOL said it will spend between $14 million and $18 million on “cash restructuring charges” — read as “severance and related costs” — on the Patch layoffs it announced today, which will range from approximately 350 to 500 people.

As Bloomberg’s Ed Lee notes, that indicates AOL is not spending a whole lot on severance for Patch employees, who have been running a network of 900 local news sites.

Or at least, it’s not spending a lot compared to the world’s largest publishing company.

When Time Inc. announced it was going to lay off some 500 people earlier this year, parent company Time Warner told investors that it was going to spend a lot more money on its payroll-reduction move: “Approximately $60 million.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work