BuzzFeed cuts 15% of staff in latest redundancy round

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 25 January 2019

BuzzFeed is laying off 200 people globally equal to 15% of its workforce in the latest round of cuts at the digital-only publisher.

It comes as digital publishers struggle to turn a profit while dealing with the same financial issues that have faced traditional publishers in recent years.

CEO Jonah Peretti on Wednesday sent a memo to staff this week in which explained that efforts to diversify revenue weren't enough to help the company achieve profitability.

"Unfortunately, revenue growth by itself isn't enough to be successful in the long run," he wrote. "The restructuring we are undertaking will reduce our costs and improve our operating model so we can thrive and control our destiny, without ever need to raise funding again."

The cuts, expected to be company-wide, are set to take place next week and for the first time, partly impact the BuzzFeed news operations.

Journalists and editors have up until now not been impacted by previous redundancy rounds, such as the cuts made in November 2017 that saw the departure of 100 staff.

BuzzFeed declined to comment on the number of staff that will be impacted in the Australian arm of the company, which was founded in 2014, and made a small number of redundancies as part of a restructure last year.

The last 18 months have been tough for BuzzFeed’s global business. The media company missed its 2017 revenue targets by up to US$350 million, leading to global redundancies and it suffered a blow as a result of the Facebook algorithm update.

The company has tried to diversify its revenue introducing programmatic advertising after scoffing at banner ads for years and piloting a membership model that asks readers to chip in with donations.

It's struggles coincided with a wider shift within digital media companies with HuffPost exiting Australia, Mashable's quick fire sale and Vice also missing its revenue targets.

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