Jonah Peretti Says BuzzFeed Made $100 Million Last Year From Sources That Didn’t Exist in 2017

CEO discusses the company's move away from a reliance on platforms

BuzzFeed's efforts to diversify are mostly focused on commerce. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Patrick Kulp

BuzzFeed pulled in around $100 million last year from businesses that didn’t exist in 2017, and it’s projected to hit similar numbers this year, according to a companywide memo and accompanying SXSW keynote from CEO Jonah Peretti.

The announcement indicates that the digital media company is beginning to see dividends from moves into areas like ecommerce sales, influencer services and commerce-integrated ad products in an attempt to wean itself off dependence on big-tech platforms. It comes after the company pared down its journalistic operations earlier this year, with mass layoffs that hit 15 percent of its workforce.

Peretti also acknowledged in his memo that media is in the midst of an ongoing crisis from which he sees a diversified set of revenue streams as a path forward, according to Variety.

“The coming year won’t be a cake walk, but I see a clear path to a bright future for BuzzFeed,” Peretti wrote. “I’m hopeful the same is true for many of our peers.”

BuzzFeed has increasingly focused on putting the power of its audience and content capabilities toward product-focused commerce partnerships, like a deal with Macy’s last fall and an experiential toy store in New York over the holidays. The company is also experimenting with shoppable ads and other ways to integrate products with sponsored content.

According to one SXSW attendee, discussion of BuzzFeed’s journalism took up around three minutes of Peretti’s half-hour session, which was otherwise focused on these new efforts.

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.
Publish date: March 8, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT