Commentary

'BuzzFeed' Confirms Potential For Ecommerce Growth

BuzzFeed’sfirst quarterly earnings report shows the digital publisher weathered the pandemic recession as advertising and ecommerce revenue jumped from a year earlier. Online shopping is likely to remain a key source of growth amid a sustained shift in consumer spending habits.
The company’s total revenue climbed 51% from a year earlier to $89.1 million in the second quarter. Ad sales reached $47.8 million, though the 79% growth was from one of the weakest periods for media spending in years, as marketers pulled back during the onset of the pandemic.

BuzzFeed attributed part of the growth to higher prices for programmatic ads.

Ecommerce revenue, which includes commissions on referral traffic to online retailers, surged 82% to $17.1 million on a higher volume of transactions, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BuzzFeed’s latest disclosures were in an updated version of a filing with the SEC about its plans to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, this year. The publisher in June agreed to merge with 890 5th Avenue Partners and to buy Complex Networks, the media and entertainment company for youth culture.

The company reported a net loss of about $789,000 in the second quarter, partly because of the costs of acquiring Complex Networks and its plan to go public. The loss was narrower than its $5.7 million loss a year earlier.
It also swung to a profit of about $5.7 million on an adjusted basis, excluding interest, depreciation and transaction costs, from a loss of $1.4 million on an adjusted basis, the filing showed.
Complex reported a 5% slide in revenue to $31.1 million as it wound down a partnership for go90, a discontinued mobile video program that Verizon started six years ago. Complex’s ad sales jumped 75% to $14.6 million, while ecommerce revenue quintupled to almost $4 million.
While BuzzFeed’s ecommerce revenue is a fraction of its ad sales, the company previously indicated the online transactions will be a signification source of growth.
Ecommerce revenue will grow sixfold to $330 million by 2024 to make up almost one-third of total revenue, up from 13% last year, according to an earlier presentation to investors. Ad revenue will rise 152% to $1.06 billion during the comparable period. Ideally, its ecommerce projections will come to fruition as the digital ad market matures and its growth rate slows.

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