NBCUniversal makes it official: it has invested $200m in BuzzFeed
Announcement follows one week after a similarly sized investment was made in Vox Media, as Comcast-owned NBCUniversal seeks to strengthen its digital media future
The announcement that NBCUniversal was investing in BuzzFeed probably was delayed a week to allow Vox Media to be in the spotlight, the other company NBCUniversal has invested the same amount in.
BuzzFeed also has announced that it has signed an agreement with Yahoo! JAPAN to launch BuzzFeed Japan.
“All these deals were structured to assure BuzzFeed’s continued editorial and creative independence,” Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed, Founder and CEO wrote in a blog post. “Equally important, the investment from NBCU and our rapidly growing revenue assures our financial independence, allowing us to grow and invest without pressure to chase short-term revenue or rush an IPO. Our independence and a long-term focus align us with our readers and viewers and help us deliver the best possible service for our audience.”
It is generally the case that traditional media likes to invest in already established digital media properties rather than try and launch new brands themselves. The strategy has a long history this is frankly not very good. But NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, can certainly afford the investments.
BuzzFeed was founded in 2006, and received its first big cash infusion one year ago – $50 million from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. That raised the valuation of the company to around $850 million. Today’s investment to around $1.5 billion, yet the company reportedly did around $100-120 million in revenue last year. But that is really Comcast’s problem, isn’t it?
In any case, look for Vox Media and BuzzFeed channels coming to a cable box near you – or at least an Xfinity cable box.
Here is the official announcement (you can find the Vox Media announcement here):
NEW YORK, NY – August 18, 2015 – NBCUniversal and BuzzFeed today announced that NBCUniversal has agreed to make a $200 million equity investment in BuzzFeed, the technology-driven global media company that reaches over 200 million monthly unique visitors and 1.5 billion monthly video views.
“BuzzFeed has built an exceptional global company that harmonizes technology, data and superior editorial abilities to create and share content in innovative ways,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “They reach a massive, loyal audience and have proven to be among the most creative, popular and influential new media players. We are pleased to be making this investment and for our companies to partner and work together.”
“It’s a fascinating time for the media industry; social, mobile, digital, and broadcast platforms are converging to create new opportunities to connect with global audiences, and we’re excited to partner with NBCUniversal to combine our respective strengths to build the future of news and entertainment,” said Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s Founder and CEO.
As part of the investment, the companies will also explore strategic partnerships across both organizations in the coming months.
“BuzzFeed and NBCUniversal will be great strategic partners and we both have a lot to offer the other,” said Kenneth Lerer, BuzzFeed’s Executive Chairman. “We look forward to collaborating on television content, movies, the Olympics, and joint partnerships with ad agencies and brands.”