Beleaguered startup Messenger is shutting down just eight months after launch Hollywood Reporter can be confirmed. Nearly 300 media employees were laid off.
Employees' Slack accounts were deactivated shortly after 1pm PT on Wednesday. There was no comment from a Messenger representative when reached by phone.
“I'm not in the loop. Trying to figure this out now,” editor Dan Wakeford previously wrote on Slack after employees asked him if there would be any update from management. The development came after The Messenger's board of directors met earlier From Wednesday to decide the fate of the site.
Note to staff from owner Jimmy Finkelstein below:
Personally, I am deeply saddened to learn that we have made the difficult and painful decision to close Messenger, effective immediately. Over the past few weeks, up until last night, we have exhausted all available options and sought to raise enough capital to achieve profitability. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to do that, which is why we haven't shared the news with you yet. This is truly the last thing I wanted, and I am deeply sorry.
The Messenger set out with a very important mission – to provide balanced, accurate journalism at a time when Americans' trust in the media is at an all-time low – and I'm proud of what we've accomplished. Our editorial team created and delivered an outstanding product that generated unprecedented traffic within seven months. ComScore recently announced that we reached 88 million page views in November. Under the right circumstances, I know we could have made a huge difference in the fragmented media landscape and country today.
The industry has faced extraordinary challenges in the past year. Economic headwinds have left many media companies struggling to survive. Unfortunately, as a new company, we faced greater challenges than others and were unable to survive those headwinds. I'm grateful to you and the partners who believed in our mission and joined us over the past seven months, but the reality is we needed more capital to move forward successfully.
We realize that this announcement will immediately raise many questions, and our team is committed to providing timely information during this time. Our head office is available to answer any questions not addressed in our FAQs.
Once again, I want to apologize for not being able to find a way out. Thank you for your unwavering dedication and hard work. I wish everyone well in their future endeavours.
More is coming.