Buzzfeed News bids farewell, “Will be consolidating under one brand, Huffpost,”- Ceo Peretti
In a shocking announcement, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti revealed that the company’s news division would be shut down. The decision was communicated to staff through an email sent on Thursday, in which Peretti explained that the company would be cutting approximately 15% of its workforce, including members of its Business, Content, Tech, and Admin teams. He also announced the beginning of the process of closing BuzzFeed News.
Peretti went on to say that both HuffPost and BuzzFeed Dot Com would be opening a number of select roles for members of BuzzFeed News. Going forward, the company would be consolidating its news operations under a single brand: HuffPost. Peretti stated that HuffPost is generating profits and has a dedicated audience that visits its front page directly.
This decision comes on the heels of recent reports that BuzzFeed was slimming down its news department by offering voluntary buyouts to approximately one-third of its employees. CNBC reported last month that investors had lobbied to shut down the entire newsroom. Sources claimed that the news division was losing $10 million annually, and that its closure would increase the company’s market cap by $300 million. CNBC also noted that the company’s shares had crashed 90% since its IPO. The company had previously shut down its news app at the beginning of the month.
In an unusual move, Peretti’s email was described as “apologetic” by CNBC reporter Alex Sherman. Peretti acknowledged the challenges that had led to the decision to shut down BuzzFeed News, citing COVID and a range of economic headwinds. He also took responsibility for missteps, admitting that he “could have managed these changes better as the CEO of this company,” and that the company’s leadership team “could have performed better despite these circumstances.”
Peretti specifically faulted a slow integration of the company’s two business organizations, BuzzFeed and Complex, and a decision to overinvest in BuzzFeed News. In his writing, he expressed remorse for not setting higher profitability standards for the company, which could have provided a safety net to navigate economic and industry challenges.
Despite the current difficulties, Peretti expressed optimism about the future of digital media. In his writing, he expressed his conviction that even though the present may not be favorable, the future of digital media belongs to them. He acknowledged the struggles and challenges currently facing the industry, but believed that they are undergoing a process of renewal and will eventually overcome these obstacles to achieve a promising future. He emphasized that they are putting in a lot of effort at present and are determined to work hard and persevere until they achieve success.
The closure of BuzzFeed News will undoubtedly have significant implications for the media industry, as well as for the hundreds of journalists who work for the company. The move reflects ongoing challenges facing the industry, including declining ad revenue and increased competition from social media platforms. However, Peretti’s commitment to fighting for a brighter future for digital media suggests that there is still hope for the industry as a whole.