BuzzFeed is available publicly on Nasdaq. Now what?


The transition from starting a state-owned company should be enormous.

So let’s start by acknowledging that BuzzFeed, which started 15 years ago as an online experiment, has reached its climax: December 6 is the day you will be able to buy and sell BZFD shares on Nasdaq.

We can also admit that the BuzzFeed transition has been more complex than we would have liked. Last week, when it changed from a business company to a public (use of “SPAC” – a financial technology that was very popular a year ago and now out of favor), the investors gave the company a thumbs-up. That means he just raised $ 16 million instead of the $ 250 million he expects to raise earlier this year. On top of that, 61 of the employees at BuzzFeed News – about 5 percent of the company’s employees – resigned last Thursday in protest of a negotiated settlement agreement.

But step back a little. The fact that BuzzFeed is so close-knit – never stops selling in public, and the financial security and marketing expectations that come with it – is worth noting.

BuzzFeed is probably a well-known member of the digital publishing team founded a decade ago, and for a long time it seems to be able to take over the mainstream media industry. Their rise disturbed the existing publishers, and briefly encouraged investors to drop by billions of dollars their way.

Then their main strategy – to connect with Facebook, and profit when social networking puts their stuff in front of a gazillion eyes – collapsed about four years ago, when it became clear that Facebook was more competitive than its counterpart. And then most of them decrease interestingly or missing together.

Then that BuzzFeed still exists, and is big enough to exist as a state-owned company, and … something.

It is not a sex affair as it was six or seven years ago, when BuzzFeed was present – along with other publishers such as the Huffington Post and my boss, Vox Media – worried enough about the New York Times that the paper made internal report-ti-ti-titani dedicated to protecting terrorists. Or when BuzzFeed seemed to be so well aware of the digital culture that Ben Smith, his former editor, could boast that “the world has moved to us. ” Or when he was telling the world to take what he learned to make insects content with use this information to promote Hollywood.

Flash-forth so far, and BuzzFeed ambitions have been greatly reduced: Like everyone else on television, it tries to sell projects to studios and streamers that need content. But the idea for the BuzzFeed Motion Pictures section seems like an extension, which seems to be the reason why the company no longer has a segment called. The New York Times, however, found that there was no need for them to follow BuzzFeed’s example of pioneering. Instead, it has grown to produce better journalism as well asking its readers to pay, which they seem happy to do. And it has been able to use the money to borrow stars from digital competitors such as Vox and BuzzFeed. including Ben Smith.

The surest way to do this: From last week BuzzFeed was worth $ 1.5 billion – less The $ 1.7 billion sellers thought it was worth a return in 2016, although it acquired both HuffPost and Complex, all major printers only.

Or, another, well-known way of explaining what BuzzFeed is also looking for: For years, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said he was good at why The BuzzFeed News unit was a waste of money, because it did an important job in which they were happy to donate. But that has changed in recent years. In 2019, BuzzFeed left a major impression on the group for the first time, and now Peretti says he wants BuzzFeed News to lose less money. Hence the contract negotiations that have lasted for two years.

“I am still free [with BuzzFeed News losing money]. At the point. But that ‘s not what it used to be, “Peretti told me Friday, in an interview with a Recode Media podcast. “And I think people expect that, what we have done in the past to provide more information, is something we will continue to do the same. And we can do that to the point. You can listen to all the discussions at this link, or below.

But even low-cost BuzzFeed is a good thing, because we want more publishers, at least – even Peretti’s main goal in public advertising is to integrate other publishers into the computer under BuzzFeed. Many choices are good for you, someone who looks to the media to help them understand the world around you. It is also ideal for existing printers, who can use repetitive competition in pants. It is also good to have publishing businesses that do not rely on having 10 million worldwide subscribers, or kind billionaire back.

That’s the big picture. Now let’s take a closer look, and talk about what BuzzFeed means in different areas:

For people who work at BuzzFeed:

Some of them have made money. BuzzFeed offer means shares or options in companies that were once confidential can now be sold on the public market. The value of Peretti in the company he founded, for example, will be worth millions.

Some low-income executives, who received decisions after BuzzFeed’s last quarter in 2016, may not see any change, meanwhile: Public investors should decide that the company is worth at least $ 1.7 billion before it becomes necessary. everything. In the meantime some former employees – especially those who came in early – may have good money, but not insults: “This is not a rent, but can paint the house,” a former BuzzFeed editor told me.

For people who manage BuzzFeed:

Peretti has been saying for years that he wants digital printers to integrate. Ideally, the fact that BuzzFeed is public makes it easier for them to integrate, as they can sell shares in the company to public investors or find other ways to earn money. The sales that brought BuzzFeed people started long ago, with funding for Complex, a publisher well known for its hip-hop culture and conferences, as well as Hot Ones, a movie about celebrities. eating the wings of the most spicy chicken. But BuzzFeed’s ability to buy other companies will depend on how they operate as a state-owned company, so Peretti’s plans are very TBD.

For the people who control the publishers who are not named BuzzFeed:

Secretly, digital publishers competing with BuzzFeed often complain about BuzzFeed: They show that Peretti has been constantly changing from story to story by explaining BuzzFeed’s methods and techniques. Recent: It makes a lot of money from “advertising,” which currently means adding links to the news (which Vox Media also does). In public, they want the best for him. But they all know that their story is a BuzzFeed story: If it works well, they probably can too.

“Right or wrong, fairly or unfairly, all media companies will be connected to BuzzFeed,” says Bryan Goldberg, CEO of Bustle Digital Group, who also seeks publicity. “BuzzFeed’s future reflects the wealth of many other companies.”

This is not to say that BuzzFeed shares today have shown whether Goldberg – or companies like Vox Media – will be publicly visible soon. But if next year or so, public funders find that they are not interested in BuzzFeed, then this will make it even more difficult for Goldbergs worldwide to make their voices heard. This is why BuzzFeed going public can be, at the same time, a big and irrelevant thing. We will not know the exact answer for some time.



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