Data journalist and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver will not let ABC News renew his contract when it expires this summer as parent company Disney tries to cut costs, the popular statistician said Tuesday.
Silver, made famous by accurately predicting Barack Obama’s election in 2008, has been caught up in Disney’s latest round of layoffs, which has affected thousands of employees.
“Launches at Disney have had a significant impact on FiveThirtyEight,” Silver tweeted.
“I am saddened and disappointed to a degree that is difficult to express at the moment.”
He added: “We’ve been at Disney for almost 10 years. My contract is about to expire and I expect to leave him eventually.”
“I was concerned about such an outcome and as a result have had some great initial conversations about opportunities elsewhere,” Silver tweeted.
“Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.”
He added: “I am so proud of the work of the FiveThirtyEight staff. It has never been easy.”
“I’m so sorry for the people affected by this.”
ABC News is expected to retain the FiveThirtyEight brand name, though the network plans to streamline the site for the 2024 election, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
“ABC News remains dedicated to data journalism with a focus on politics, economics and corporate reporting – this streamlined structure will allow us to more closely align our priorities for the 2024 election and beyond,” an ABC News spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
“We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the team members who will leave the organization and know they will continue to make an important impact on the future of journalism.”
The Post has solicited comments from FiveThirtyEight, ABC News and Disney.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Silver sent a Slack message to staff, writing that “unfortunately, the day we were worried about has come.”
“We don’t yet know the scope of these layoffs, who exactly will be affected or the conditions under which they are going, but it’s going to be a tough day for all of us,” Silver wrote.
Disney this week began cutting 7,000 jobs across the company, including at its sports broadcasting empire at ESPN.
Disney Entertainment, the division of The Walt Disney Co. that owns the film studios, production and distribution of television content, and streaming services, will bear a significant portion of the job cuts — about 15% of the division’s employees will be leaving next week, according to the report.
Founded by Silver in 2008, the future of FiveThirtyEight has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months.
In January, the Daily Beast reported that the data-driven analytics site was “on the chopping block” due to budget cuts planned by bean counters at parent company Disney.
The site reported that ABC News CEO Kim Godwin had put FiveThirtyEight “under scrutiny” — possibly in advance of a possible sale.
The Daily Beast said insiders had “lamented a lack of enthusiasm” at ABC to adopt a subscription-based model at FiveThirtyEight to boost profitability.
According to the report, Silver had been in talks with The Atlantic and The Athletic for a potential sale of his website back in 2017.
The site, which has never turned a profit, was originally owned by the New York Times.
In 2013, Silver and his website migrated from The Times to Disney-owned ESPN.
Five years later, FiveThirtyEight was acquired by ABC News, ESPN’s sister company.