- BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti admits the company “invested more than we should have earlier than we should have” in the UK.
- The NBCUniversal-backed firm made 39 British staff redundant in January, 23 of whom worked in the newsroom. A further 60 lost their jobs in the US.
- The job cuts were quick and clean, as staff left with what a source described as “extremely generous” redundancy packages.
- The upheaval is not over, however, and Business Insider understands that the company is looking to vacate its swanky London offices because they are too expensive.
- Despite the difficulties, BuzzFeed’s reporting has still set the agenda in January.
Late last week, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti admitted that his company overreached in its mission to figure out the future of journalism in the UK. To an extent, he was acknowledging the obvious.
BuzzFeed UK had just laid off 39 of its 140 employees when he told the Columbia Journalism Review that “we invested more than we should have earlier than we should have” during a “tough business climate” in Britain.
Sources in the company speaking to Business Insider fleshed out the situation, describing a bleak process which saw almost a third of the company shown the door in a few weeks.
Peretti’s admission comes against a backdrop of missed revenue targets last year — BuzzFeed fell 15-20% short of its $350 million (£247 million) goal — and declining traffic.
ComScore figures show BuzzFeed UK hovering at just over 10 million unique users towards the end of 2017, down 20% since January 2015 (see chart below). BuzzFeed does, however, consider itself a multiplatform publisher and its website traffic is not its only measure of success.