Village Voice Media, owner of the Voice and a dozen other alt-weeklies across the country, has decided to try a nifty trick: it's cleaving itself in two. Executives from the company are "buying out" all of the papers, putting them into what is technically a new, standalone company. And VVM's main profit center, hooker ad site Backpage.com, is going to be left in its own separate company, controlled by VVM bosses Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. This is a weird gambit.
The Village Voice has problems. The paper had yet another round of layoffs last month, as part of a nationwide cull by its parent company. (Not to be confused with the other layoffs earlier this year.) Like most alt-weeklies, the Voice depends on sex and drug ads for its very survival. The paper's so desperate for revenue that it's suing Time Out NY for using the phrase "Best in NYC." You know that belongs to the Village Voice, right?