BuzzFeed ‘to split into news and entertainment units’

26/08/2016

Online news site BuzzFeed is splitting into two distinct units — news and entertainment — in similar fashion to the move made a couple of years ago by old media organisation News Corp.

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According to a report in Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed’s founder and chief executive, Jonah Peretti, sent staff a memo saying that “having a single ‘video department’ in 2016 makes about as much sense as having a ‘mobile department.’”

The move to create two departments –BuzzFeed News and BuzzFeedEntertainment Group – comes at a time when online media companies are grappling with the balance between covering news and politics, and lighter fare like social media, entertainment, and lifestyle.

BuzzFeed will integrate some existing groups like the health team and video news into BuzzFeed News, which will be run by Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.

Peretti’s memo stated: “We have an opportunity to be the leading entertainment company for the mobile, social age.

“And we are in position to build the #1 global news brand for a new generation who consume news differently than their parents, but care passionately about what is happening in a quickly-changing world.“

The news comes amid reports this year that BuzzFeed badly missed revenue targets and cut its internal projections for this year in half (a report the company denied), and worry among staffers that the company’s push into video might mean a pullback in news.

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