'BuzzFeed' Shutters French Edition

BuzzFeed is closing down its French edition and laying off around 14 employees, according to multiple reports.
BuzzFeed says the move is part of a reorganization the company is undergoing after it missed a revenue target of $350 million last year by more than $70 million.

BuzzFeed France has been around for four years.

"We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France, given the uncertain path to growth in the French market," a BuzzFeed spokesman told TheWrap. "We have begun a consultation process with BuzzFeed France and will follow up when we have more information to share.”

But the French site’s chief editor Stephane Jourdain suggested the decision has already been made. “Brutal and completely unexpected decision,” Jourdain tweeted in French. “It’s very sad.”

Jourdain added that BuzzFeed France had just experienced four successful months in terms of news and traffic. BuzzFeed France's editor-in-chief Cecile Dehesdin is on maternity leave.



BuzzFeed says it will hire 45 other people, across creative, strategic planning and pricing, as well as new growth areas, such as business development and programmatic, according to a staff memo by Chief Revenue Officer Lee Brown. 

The large millennial-focused news organization currently has 1,450+ employees. BuzzFeed laid off about 100 people last fall and has made changes to move its business away from reliance on social platforms and direct-sold ads. 

"The best media companies generate revenue from many sources, tapping a combination of advertising, subscriptions, studio development, brand licensing and merchandising,” CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a December memo. 

The company wants to focus on growing its commerce business — built off popular lifestyle and service-journalism verticals like Tasty — and evolve it into multiple revenue stream opportunities.

Tasty-branded kitchen products are now available in about 4,000 stores Walmart stores and online.

According to a recent Pew Research composite of pure-play, digital-native news outlets like BuzzFeed, the 35 most trafficked digital native news sites, per comScore, appear to be plateauing in reach (measuring average monthly uniques). They declined in this year’s analysis versus 2017's.

“The average fourth-quarter, monthly unique visitors for the primary domains of these outlets decreased 5% in 2017 to 22 million, compared with 23 million in 2016, according to comScore data,” the report notes.

BuzzFeed launched in the U.S. in 2006 and has over 10 international editions.
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