BuzzFeed eyeing mergers with digital media competitors

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 21 November 2018

Consolidation in the traditional media sector has been rife in Australia this year, but it’s the digital media sector that could see the biggest shakeup in 2019 with BuzzFeed eyeing mergers and aquisitions in this space.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti has revealed he’s interested in joining forces with other companies through potential mergers and acquisitions to future proof the business against the threat of Facebook and Google.

In an interview with the New York Times in which Peretti laid out his vision for BuzzFeed, he floated the possibility of a merger with other online publishers in order to strike more favourable terms with the duopoly.

Peretti also acknowledged that BuzzFeed can't solely rely on predicting the next viral video but must find safety in numbers instead, as the business continues to miss its revenue forecasts.

He said that businesses like Vice, Vox Media, Group Nine and Refinery are all doing “interesting work”.

According to the Times, preliminary M&A talks among “a few” digital media companies - including BuzzFeed - have taken place to date.

On Monday, in another attempt to build a new revenue stream, BuzzFeed News launched a recurring membership program, which it said is a new way for readers to support the website.

Under the new program, for $5 per month, “readers can support our journalism and receive exclusive emails” about major stories, new projects, and behind-the-scenes looks at the reporting behind the stories, BuzzFeed said.

BuzzFeed has been busy building additional revenue streams over the last 18 months, including merchandise, reversing its stance on display ads and piloting a membership model that asks readers to chip in with donations.

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