Medium Cuts Staff By One-Third, Says Ad-driven Online Media is a “Broken System”

Medium has laid off 50 employees, which is about one-third of its staff and has decided to shut down offices in New York and Washington, D.C., as a result.
Ev Williams, Medium’s CEO, wrote in a lengthy post that he wants to move away from the ad-driven model because the ads they were trying to sell were not different from advertisements offered on other sites. He described the model as a “broken system.”

Upon further reflection, it’s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it’s not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get …well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.

So, what next for Medium, in terms of revenue? Williams is yet to decide on that.

“We are shifting our resources and attention to defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people,” he wrote. “It is too soon to say exactly what this will look like.”

Ironically, Williams’ previous venture Twitter, too is struggling to find a viable revenue model.

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