Refinery29 Lays Off 34 Employees Amid Digital Media Headwinds

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Refinery29's '29Rooms' Installation.

The women's lifestyle site has raised more than $125 million from investors that include Turner and Scripps Networks.

Refinery29 has conducted a round of layoffs, acknowledging that the digital media industry is facing advertising headwinds. 

The women's lifestyle website has let go of 34 employees, or about 7 percent of its staff, a spokeswoman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter

"This year has been especially challenging for digital media and advertising companies," reads a statement from the company. "Refinery29 has seen tremendous growth but is not immune to some of the negatives that this growth brings. As such, the team has made a difficult decision to part ways with 34 members of the team in an effort to make an investment in the future of the company." 

The 12-year-old company has more than 450 employees around the world and has raised more than $125 million from investors, including Turner and Scripps Networks. It currently has around 500 million users across platforms. 

The layoffs come as the digital media industry at large suffers from a course correction. Mashable recently sold to Ziff Davis for what is reported to be well below its one-time valuation of $250 million. Meanwhile, Vice and BuzzFeed are both expected not to meet their revenue projections this year. BuzzFeed, recognizing that the last year had been a tough one for the media, recently laid off around 100 employees as it reorganized its advertising and sales teams. 

"The media is in crisis," BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a letter published Dec. 12 that pointed to the dominance of Facebook and Google in the digital advertising industry and the impact that has had on digital media companies producing content that is distributed on other platforms.

Business Insider, which first reported on the Refinery29 layoffs, published a memo to employees from co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano that reads in part, "Looking ahead to 2018, we foresee that many of the challenges in our industry will likely continue — which is why we're moving forward with clarity and resolution. As dozens of content companies have been funded over the past 48 months, we're seeing a correction in the digital media space. This is a time where the strongest businesses with the most meaningful brands and diversified revenue streams will continue to shine — and thrive."

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