BuzzFeed to Cut 12 Percent of Workforce Amid “Audience Shift to Vertical Video,” CEO Says

BuzzFeed to Cut 12 Percent of Workforce Amid “Audience Shift to Vertical Video,” CEO Says

BuzzFeed is laying off around 12 percent of its workforce — about 182 staffers of 1,522 staffers —  as the company’s revenue has been hit by “worsening macroeconomic conditions” and the “ongoing audience shift to vertical video,” CEO Jonah Peretti told staff on Tuesday.

Restructuring costs stemming from the mass layoffs will amount to upwards of $12 million, the company disclosed in an SEC filing, with most of those charges being paid by the end of the first quarter next year. The layoffs will impact the sales, tech, production and content divisions of BuzzFeed and Complex, though there are no cuts happening to BuzzFeed News, HuffPost and Tasty, a company spokesperson told THR.

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“Our revenues are being impacted by a combination of worsening macroeconomic conditions, and the ongoing audience shift to vertical video, which is still developing from a monetization standpoint,” Peretti wrote in a memo to staff. “That requires us to lower our costs. Unfortunately, reducing our workforce is an essential part of cost cutting. Staff salaries are the single largest cost at the company.”

Moving forward, Peretti said the company will be prioritizing “areas that will drive growth, and shifting away from areas with less audience engagement.” He also pointed to creating a more “robust creator business,” though didn’t share specifics.

BuzzFeed has already laid off staff earlier this year, with some of those cuts and voluntary buyouts impacting the BuzzFeed News division. As of this August, the company disclosed $5.3 million in restructuring fees stemming from the staffing changes. In its Q3 earnings report, BuzzFeed noted a continued decline in audience engagement with its content.

“I know that there’s nothing I can write here to make this easier for anyone losing their job today. While I believe in the strategy we’re pursuing, and know it’s necessary to navigate the challenging year ahead, that’s no comfort if you are directly affected,” Peretti wrote.