As the digital news industry continues to face near-crippling challenges, The Wall Street Journal reports that BuzzFeed plans to cut 15 percent of its workforce, affecting nearly 250 jobs across the company. According to sources, BuzzFeed is also looking to prioritize more “promising areas” like content licensing and e-commerce.
“One impetus for the changes is to get BuzzFeed on the path to profitability and in proper shape as it scouts out potential merger combinations with other digital media players,” says WSJ. “Another driver of the cuts is to help the company avoid raising money again, one of the people said. BuzzFeed has raised about $500 million and was valued at about $1.7 billion following its last funding round in 2016.”
It’s rough out here in the newsroom world. In July 2018, New York Daily News cut half of its staff to focus on “breaking news — especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility.” In August 2017, Mic let go of 20 staffers companywide to shift to a focus on video before laying off another half of its staff in November. And four years ago—as we previously noted—journalism companies were pronounced “dead” by Poynter amid a growing number of layoffs and disruption throughout the industry. Boston Globe also laid off non newsroom employees in May 2018 to “increase efficiency.”
WSJ goes on to explain how BuzzFeed has fought to overcome challenges of its own, while reassessing revenue expectations.
“Unfortunately, revenue growth by itself isn’t enough to be successful in the long run. The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our own destiny, without ever needing to raise funding again,” BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti said in a staff memo.
With so many cuts happening throughout the industry, it’s become clear that pretty much no company is immune. BuzzFeed launched in 2006 and took off as one of the leading entities in digital news. BuzzFeed also closed its France headquarters and let go of its in-house production team after laying off multiple members of its business staff in 2017.