BuzzFeed is reducing and shifting the focus from its Pulitzer-winning news division. The digital media company, which is best known for its humorous lists and quizzes strives to increase its profitability.
The New York-based company offers voluntary buyouts in its 100-person newsroom. Some top editors are also leaving. These include Mark Schoofs (the editor in chief at BuzzFeed News) and Tom Namako (the deputy editor in chief), who announced a move from BuzzFeed News to NBC News Digital Tuesday. Ariel Kaminer is the executive editor for investigation.
BuzzFeed News is not profitable but has won numerous awards including the first Pulitzer in 2013. Its staff has also been frequently poached by traditional news agencies. BuzzFeed spokesperson Matt Mittenthal stated that 35 people are eligible for buyouts. However, the company does not expect all of them will take one.
BuzzFeed will offer buyouts to journalists working on investigations, inequalities, and science teams. This is because BuzzFeed focuses less on breaking news and more on lighter content.
Rosalind Adams, BuzzFeed News’ investigative reporter, tweeted, “We’ve been able to chase wild and impossible stories.” “It’s sad to see @BuzzFeedNews abandoning the value of that work.
The company announced that it will be reducing 1.7% of its staff, in addition to the newsroom buyouts. Buzzfeed filed a January securities regulatory filing stating that it had 1,524 U.S.-based and international employees. This would mean that the reductions would be approximately 25 people.
BuzzFeed shares have fallen more than 40% in the four months since it went publicin December. This is known as a SPAC (merger with a company that trades) and not an IPO.
According to Tuesday’s earnings release, the company reported a strong year in 2021. The company’s revenue rose 24%, to $397.6million, due to an increase in e-commerce revenue and ad revenue. Its profit nearly doubled to $25.9million.
It expects revenue to fall in the current quarter, however, if Complex Networks is included. Complex Networks was a collection of sites related to pop culture that BuzzFeed bought last year. BuzzFeed Video will be responsible for the layoffs, as well as the editorial side at Complex.
BuzzFeed also purchased HuffPost in the early 2021s, and soon laid off many of its employees.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti stated Tuesday that the company is increasing its investments in vertical video. This smartphone format is used on TikTok, a popular video sharing site.
Peretti stated in a memo that the news division “will need to shrink” and “prioritize areas of coverage with which our audience is most connected,” Peretti told employees.
He stated that BuzzFeed News must be a “stronger financial contributor to the greater business,” and that this will require a focus on major breaking news, culture, entertainment and “life online.”
Buzzfeed Inc. shares rose 32 cents or 6.5% to close Tuesday at $5.27