BuzzFeed will lay off 100 staff in a major shake-up

BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti. (Photo by AOP.Press / Corbis via Getty Images)
  • BuzzFeed is set to lay off 100 staffers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • The company has reevaluated its advertising strategy after missing revenue targets earlier this year.

BuzzFeed is set to lay off 100 staffers as the company re-configures its business side and UK bureau after missing revenue targets earlier this year.

In an email to employees, CEO Jonah Peretti said that the company was restructuring its business and sales teams as it shifts its advertising revenue strategy. The company announced president Greg Coleman had decided to “take the opportunity to transition into a new role.”

“As our strategy evolves, we need to evolve our organisation, too – particularly our Business team, which was built to support direct sold advertising but will need to bring in different, more diverse expertise to support these new lines of business,” Peretti said. “Unfortunately, this means we have to say goodbye to some talented colleagues whose work has helped us tremendously.”

The UK office is set to hold an all-hands meeting later on Wednesday in what some staffers speculated would discuss layoffs.

The staff shakeup came as BuzzFeed has begun to reevaluate its advertising model following news earlier this month that it missed 2017 revenue targets, coming in 15-20% short of their $US350 million goal and dampening prospects for an imminent IPO.

BuzzFeed had famously focused on so-called “native” ads, or producing content on behalf of marketers that was designed to be shared by readers just like any other BuzzFeed article or video. Coleman, a digital ad veteran who’s held top sales roles at Yahoo and AOL, was brought on to help ramp up that business.

Yet those kinds of ad programs, while potentially lucrative, are not easy to execute at scale.

Earlier this year, the outlet also announced that it would begin programmatic advertising after scoffing at banner ads for years, a sign that many media watchers said signalled the company was having difficulty raising revenue.

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