Nine Entertainment shuts down Kotaku Australia

Posted on July 9, 2024

Nine Network’s Pedestrian Group has cut its licences for numerous third-party brands, including Kotaku Australia. This is all part of a company restructure and cost-cutting measures and it was reported that at least 40 jobs will be lost. The Kotaku brand was first launched in 2004 by Gawker Media in the U.S. and has been part of Pedestrian Group since December 2018.

The Guardian reported that an email was sent to staff from Pedestrian Group’s CEO, Matt Rowley, informing that the company has decided to “end its use of brand licences and focus on wholly owned brands,” despite Pedestrian Group being a “highly successful business.” This meant that other tech and youth-oriented sites, such as Kotaku, Vice, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Refinery29 have been affected. Meanwhile, the fate of Pedestrian’s Web3-oriented publication, The Chainsaw, is still up in the air (via Sydney Morning Herald). Only Pedestrian’s main brands, such as Pedestrian and Pedestrian TV, were not affected by this change. In addition to this email, Rowley has announced his exit as CEO of Pedestrian Group and a new person will be appointed.

Kotaku’s Managing Editor, David Smith, released a statement on X (formerly Twitter) about the latest news, stating that Kotaku Australia was the “second-highest read site” following Pedestrian TV and has thanked everyone who has contributed their words throughout the years.

“To every single freelancer that has ever pitched me, ever got words on the site, ever helped us out when we had gaps in the staff or people were on breaks, thank you. You’re all wonderful and so, so talented. A gift to have your words on the page,” said Smith. “I have loved this job. We were the second-highest read site in the group after PTV, and we still had so much we wanted to do. The plans I had were just getting started. Alas.”

Kotaku is one of many Australian media outlets that were affected by job cuts and redundancies. Crickey reported that many media leaders pointed the finger at Facebook’s parent company, Meta, as the social media giant failed to renew the deal under the News Media Bargaining code that was introduced in 2021. Due to this, many news outlets such as Nine Entertainment, Seven West, News Corp Australia, and Paramount Global have announced numerous job losses in an attempt to save money. Nine Entertainment has announced that almost 5000 people and around 200 jobs will be affected and has no plans to fill some vacant and casual roles.

It’s also important to note that the U.S. Kotaku branch has also faced structural change, which led to its editor-in-chief, Jen Glennon, leaving the company. Glennon cited that her exit was due to a change in priorities, steering away from news in “favour of guides.”

It’s currently unknown if Nine plans to take down Kotaku and the other affected news websites. But based on what happened with MTV and Comedy Central due to Paramount’s cost-cutting measures in the U.S., it is fair to assume that the same thing may happen to them.