Financial news network Cheddar on Tuesday placed at least some of its employees on unpaid leave, the latest development for the startup that bills itself as a destination for younger viewers.
The news network placed the affected workers on leave, effective immediately, and prohibited them from continuing to work, according to an email sent to employees.
“We would have liked to have given you more notice of this action, but the decision was necessitated by unforeseen internal and external factors that required rapid adjustments to our business strategy,” said the email, which was seen by The New York Times.
Altice USA, the cable company that owns Cheddar, announced last week that it had sold the network to Archetype, a media company owned by California investment firm Regent. Archetype’s holdings include a portfolio of titles focused on military news, including Army Times and Defense News, and sites including the popular review platform RateMyProfessors.
It was unclear how many Cheddar employees were affected by the move. Representatives for Regent and Archetype did not respond to requests for comment.
Like many digital media startups, Cheddar has struggled in recent years amid a tough market for online advertising. In June, Altice USA laid off the hosts of some of Cheddar’s popular shows, along with much of its production staff.
Cheddar was part of an ambitious group of digital media companies that vowed to embrace the Internet and streaming video to disrupt their traditional counterparts. Its founder, Jon Steinberg, was a former top executive at BuzzFeed who struck a series of deals to put Cheddar’s brand of chatty financial news programming in front of people no matter where they were, even at the gas pump.
Cheddar’s programming includes shows like “Stretching Your Dollar,” a daily show live from the New York Stock Exchange, and “Ready 4 Work,” a documentary series that follows job seekers trying to navigate the economy. . One of Cheddar’s biggest developments came in 2018, when the network reported that AT&T planned to acquire online advertising company AppNexus for about $2 billion.
Altice USA bought Cheddar, then a venture-backed media startup, for about $200 million in 2019.
Cheddar’s new parent company, Regent, has invested in media, technology, retail and consumer products, including the Club Monaco, Zulily and eBay brands. The company has acquired more than 30 companies since 2015 and its portfolio companies employ more than 20,000 people worldwide.