November 29, 2017 Last Updated 12:26 pm

BuzzFeed hit with layoffs, as digital ad dollars fall short

The media start-up BuzzFeed announced layoffs today, weeks after announcing a revenue shortfall and an end to efforts to go public. About 100 jobs in the US and 20 in the UK will be cut.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told staff in a memo Wednesday that the company needed to move away from being advertising supported only to one with a more diverse revenue model.

“As our strategy evolves, we need to evolve our organization, 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 wrote. “unfortunately, this means we have to say goodbye to some talented colleagues whose work has helped us tremendously.”

Peretti also said that BuzzFeed president Greg Coleman will return to leading the ad sales team and the company will begin a search for a chief operating officer.

Last month The Wall Street Journal reported that the web publisher expected to miss its revenue goal of around $350 million by between 15 and 20 percent.

Although many media reporters have compared the digital media fallout to that of the dotcom bust of 2001, there are significant differences. The dotcom bubble featured many tech and digital media companies that had high valuations, had gone public, but had practically no revenue. In this digital media bust, many of the high profile companies are selling digital advertising, often impressively, but not enough to support the growth in size and expenses that they need.

Even a 20 percent shortfall from a $350 million goal means BuzzFeed has been able to sell around $275 million in revenue. By way of comparison, last year The New York Times sold $208.8 million in digital advertising.

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