BuzzFeed Mulls Nixing News Division: Can TV News Networks Do The Same?

Big investors in BuzzFeed want the company to close down its entire news operation, because its BuzzFeed News loses tons of money.

But wait... isn’t their business all about news at its core? Maybe not so much now.

There is other stuff those investors want them to focus on -- like advertising and "content."

So.. define content. It's not news in this context. It is really about “content” marketing -- that stuff where you sell marketers essentially approved content so they can hang their messaging. Others may call it “native advertising.”

What that means is that BuzzFeed would then be just a marketing platform.

Imagine if a mid-size or struggling TV news network went the same route -- getting rid of expensive editors and reporters and just selling advertising content -- light news, non-controversial, feature-style “magazine” type stories, all with the backing of their big TV marketers.



Do you think that would be a business? It is for some companies.

Indeed, BuzzFeed started with a lot of light news content -- online quizzes, lists, and pop culture articles -- the company grew into a broad media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics and business, and occasionally animals, and business.

BuzzFeed developed and grew with its news coverage -- winning several awards, including a National Magazine Award, a Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award.

Right now the company has 100 employees and loses roughly $10 million a year, according to a report at CNBC. (It did offer buyouts to around 30 staffers). But getting rid of its new division could boost market capitalization by $300 million, according to reports.

How many other news organizations -- digital, TV or otherwise -- lose money the same way, and should do the same thing?

Could those big investors now be thinking along those same lines?

1 comment about "BuzzFeed Mulls Nixing News Division: Can TV News Networks Do The Same?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 24, 2022 at 10:02 a.m.

    Wayne, TV has long had that kind of "news"----look at shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and many others in the same vein---all nationally syndicated and all about Hollywood, show biz celebrities, etc. These have been generally successful in the ratings and garnered significant ad support.

    But is this approach the path for CNN or CBS News? Frankly, I doubt it. Most traditionl TV news operations make a profit because they offer the preferred editorial climate for many categories of advertisers who are willing to pay high CPMs to be in news----this applies on a national and local level. In addition there are the obvious ad targeting types who cater mainly to older consumers---the pharmas, travel  and reverse mortgage advertisers, etc. Since the median age of TV news viewers is around 65 years it's an ideal venue for such advertising.

    As for Buzzfeed, as you say, it was a money loser and, I assume, that it's news service didn't deliver the scale of audience that was needed to attract traditional TV news advertisers. What will be interesting to watch is how CNN's new streaming venture turns out as well as similar adventures by other traditional TV news organizations. I suspect that they, too, will not find it easy going.

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