Australia – Pedestrian Group, the media company owned by Nine Entertainment, has announced that it will cease licensing several overseas titles amidst a wave of job cuts and a greater focus on its own wholly-owned brands. The titles that will be affected include Vice, Gizmodo, Refinery29, Kotaku and Lifehacker.

“We’ve made the tough decision to focus on our wholly owned Pedestrian brands where we control the strategy, the content, the product, the sales and the outcome – the entire business. This will have an impact on roles within the group and I appreciate the uncertainty this change creates, so we will be in contact immediately with those people,” according to an email from Matt Rowley, CEO of Pedestrian Group, towards its staff

Rowley also blamed the licence partners facing financial headwinds and instability in the corporate world, as well as the overall decline of the advertising market and the rise of social media platforms for news.

Moreover, he also said that he would also exit Nine as a result of the changes after the transition period, with a new CEO to be appointed.

The shutdown of these publication titles in Australia follows news of 40 out of 95 jobs being cut off from Pedestrian Group, as well as 90 jobs that were let go from Nine’s publishing division announced last month.

Mike Sneesby, CEO of Nine Entertainment, told staff recently that the decision had been made due to the “economic headwinds” facing the media industry and “tough decisions” would be made by mid-July to save the company US$30m.

This news also comes following a wave of media-related layoffs and shutdowns, including of VICE Media, Time, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Forbes, and Business Insider. In APAC, CNN Philippines recently shut down due to financial losses, effectively laying off its entire workforce.

Sydney, Australia – Tech giant Google in Australia–in collaboration with PHD, Essence, Nine and Pedestrian Group–have launched its newest campaign in the form of a stock photo library to better represent the diverse skin tones globally.

These new images, with the help of Google’s new Pixel 6 phone and its equitable camera technology, will improve representation of all skin tones across some of Australia’s biggest and most influential media channels, and will be included in Refinery29 Australia’s ‘We Are Many’ Image Collection, in partnership with Getty Images.

Aisling Finch, senior director of marketing, and diversity, equity and inclusion council chair for Google Australia and New Zealand, said, “Google’s mission is about ‘universal’ access to information, so our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been in our company DNA from the beginning. The new Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones are designed around individual nuances, and specifically to better photograph diverse skin tones.”

She added, “To bring this to life, it made sense to collaborate with Nine and Pedestrian Group to equip journalists with a new image library with greater representation of Australia’s rich diversity, beautifully photographed on Pixel.”

Meanwhile, Matt Rowley, CEO of Pedestrian Group, commented, “Pedestrian Group is proud of the importance we place on the value of inclusivity and diversity. This collaboration with Google will help provide new perspectives and visually represent what our talented teams on sites like Refinery29 Australia are passionate about every day with initiatives like We Are Many.”

The story behind the images and the partnership is brought to life through print wraps, native articles, a digital immersive experience and a suite of behind the scenes videos. 

Media, marketers and designers can access and use these new images via the We are Many online collection.

New Zealand – Pedestrian Group, one of the largest youth-focused publishers in ANZ, has promoted Jaimee Wiggins, its senior advertising and partnerships manager, to the new position of head of partnerships for New Zealand

The appointment of Wiggins comes after Pedestrian Group inked a long-term partnership with VICE Media Group to be the exclusive publishing and commercial partner for VICE ANZ and Refinery29 ANZ, which launched on 29 July in the Australian and New Zealand markets. 

The new role will see Wiggins lead commercial endeavors for VICE and Refinery29 in New Zealand effective immediately.

Rachel Tikey, Pedestrian Group’s commercial director, says of Wiggins, “Jaimee is a top-performing commercial leader within our business and the ANZ market. She has been a key part of Pedestrian Group’s growth over the past few years – her ability to marry creativity and client objectives for each of Pedestrian Group’s brands is best in class. Jaimee is absolutely the perfect power woman to steer this new arm of our business to success and we can not wait to see what magic she conjures for Kiwi brands across VICE and Refinery29.”

VICE is an international network of digital content, while Refinery29 is a media and entertainment platform focused on young women. Pedestrian Group is also home to other content destinations PEDESTRIAN.TV, Business Insider Australia, Lifehacker Australia, and Gizmodo Australia. 

Wiggins commented, “I am delighted to be given a new challenge at Pedestrian Group and the opportunity to head up partnerships in New Zealand. Originally a Kiwi, I’m not only excited to work in a market that means so much to me, but also to be able to work with the heritage brands I grew up with and to reconnect with people I know.”

She adds, “New Zealand is consistently a challenger market and I can’t wait to work on campaigns that continue to push boundaries and leave their mark on young Kiwis across VICE and Refinery29.”