BuzzFeed to Cut 15% of Its Workforce

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:

BuzzFeed is planning to lay off about 15% of its workforce, according to people familiar with the situation, as the company seeks to reorient itself in a shifting digital-media landscape.

The cuts could affect around 250 jobs, the people said. The firm, among the most high-profile digital-native publishers, also is looking to realign its resources to invest more in promising areas of the business like content licensing and e-commerce, one of the people said.

(Featured image is a screenshot of Buzzfeed’s front page menu.)

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12 thoughts on “BuzzFeed to Cut 15% of Its Workforce

  1. I would have guessed that Buzzfeed employed somewhere between 50 and 100 people, not 1,660. So what do the other 1,500 of them do? The Onion has to generate all-original content, including video, and they only employ 140. It suggests to me that Buzzfeed’s core problem is that they hired vastly more people than was really justified to run a website that’s not all that different from this one, and that the layoffs aren’t really indicative of anything more than correcting wildly unjustified past business optimism.

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      • If Buzzfeed’s revenue decreases, they lay people off.
        If Buzzfeed’s revenue increases, they lay people off.

        If a staff of English speaking Indian nationals can perform the work, they will lay people off.
        If a computer algorithm can perform the work, they will lay people off.

        In conclusion, our economy is the greatest explosion of wealth since the Cambrian period.

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          • I think it is fair to say people shouldn’t expect to find jobs that pay above poverty level.

            Notice how in every single discussion we have here, goes like this:

            1. “If workers unionize, companies will move to a nonunion state.”

            2. “If the nonunion workers demand higher pay, the company will move to an offshore state.”

            3. If the offshore workers demand higher pay, the company will replace them with automation.”

            #3 is always and forever the ultimate trump card, the competitor of last resort which every worker must contend with.

            The traditional rejoinder, some variation of the Luddite/ Lump Of Labor Fallacy, doesn’t seem to be materializing, even after 40 years of market liberalization.

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            • Remember this article from 2015? Good times.

              Anyway, I agree that the argument always goes something like that.

              The question is to what extent we should work to keep these jobs in the country.

              As someone who saw a half-dozen jobs (my own jobs, mind… not those of other people) outsourced in the early oughts, lemme tell ya, I understand the trade isolationist impulse. It’s almost enough to get a guy to vote Populist.

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  2. I can’t remember where I read this but recently I saw an article that said the problems of journalism go back well before the Internet explosion. You can trace them back to decisions in the 1980s.

    Producing news is very expensive and seemingly has a relatively small audience of people who want it. For better or for worse, a lot of the audience for news are not necessarily people who want the advertisements. I think this is especially true on the left-side when you have intellectualism combined with anti-consumerism and anti-materialism. This came up during discussions on the demise of the Village Voice. I remember lots of eulogies where famous and not-famous people state that they learned how to become “real New Yorkers” by reading the voice. This means that they learned how to appreciate highbrow art and culture and/or cool downtown semi-Bohemian scenes from the Village Voice. It introduced them to Film Forum and to Danceteria/Mudd Club. What was left silent in this eulogies is that the Village Voice relied on advertisements for sex workers and/or drug dealers for decades.

    So I imagine two audiences for the Voice, one of middle-class professionals with artsy-bohemian pretensions/interests but ultimately in a kind of removed away and then people looking for sex workers who probably did not care about the Voice’s articles. Never did the groups meet.

    On-line journalism is much trickier. Buzzfeed can do great reporting but it costs a lot.

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