BuzzFeed Expects Recession Fears to Pressure Advertising

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BuzzFeed Inc.

posted a wider quarterly loss amid rising costs and expenses, and said it expected recession concerns to keep putting pressure on the advertising market.

The digital media company, which beyond its namesake site houses the Tasty, Complex and HuffPost brands, said it lost $23.8 million in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $582,000 in the year-earlier period.

Revenue rose to $106.8 million from $89.1 million, a roughly 20% increase that met BuzzFeed’s prior forecast. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected $108.1 million.

Shares of BuzzFeed were up 4.8% in light after-hours trading. The stock has lost more than 80% of its value since going public late last year through a merger with a special-purpose-acquisition company.

The company’s fastest-growing segment was content revenue, which BuzzFeed describes as payments it gets from clients for products such as branded quizzes and sponsored content. The segment, which also includes revenue from film and TV projects, grew 66% from a year earlier to $40.3 million.

BuzzFeed said advertising revenue rose 11% to $53.2 million. “We expect recession concerns to continue putting pressure on advertising, and we’re prepared for what comes next,” Chief Executive

Jonah Peretti

said in a release accompanying the results.

The company in recent years has made a push to become less dependent on ad revenue by growing other parts of its business, including commerce and events. Its commerce business, which generates revenue by recommending and selling products online, has struggled of late amid a slowdown in online shopping. In the latest quarter, revenue from commerce fell by 22% to $13.3 million.

The company said time spent declined 19% to 154 million hours across its properties and third-party platforms from a year earlier.

BuzzFeed has been looking to boost profitability at its news division by reducing head count and giving priority to coverage of culture and entertainment and celebrity news. BuzzFeed News earlier this year lost several of its top editors. The company in June tapped Karolina Waclawiak to serve as editor in chief of its newsroom.

BuzzFeed went public in December through a merger with special-purpose-acquisition company 890 5th Avenue, in an effort to raise funds for future deals. It raised much less money than expected from its public listing after 890 5th Avenue suffered a wave of investor withdrawals, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

BuzzFeed’s results come a day after another digital-media upstart, Axios, agreed to be acquired by Cox Enterprises Inc. in a cash deal that values the former at $525 million.

Write to Denny Jacob at [email protected]

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Appeared in the August 10, 2022, print edition as ‘BuzzFeed Loss Widens Amid Rising Expenses.’

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