The world of news is changing, Buzzfeed struggles to keep up
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There's growing concern that Buzzfeed doesn't have a very bright future, at least as far as news is concerned. The firm has missed its projected revenues, and it may look to the news for the place to cut.
Buzzfeed is struggling, can they cope with the shift in media culture?
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - It's hard to get news online these days because journalists are expensive. Old school, investigative reporting is all but dead and glorified bloggers have replaced classic journalists in newsrooms around the world. Worse, those newsrooms are closing as more and more content is produced remotely, from people working at home and in coffee shops.
The savings are obvious. Without physical infrastructure and the need to pay expensive employees, media firms can cut costs while still getting the bare facts, the "who, what, when, where, why and how" out there.
In 2012, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti decided to open a journalism division within the company. By 2015, despite some success, that division does not seem to be doing well.
Buzzfeed turned in profits that were $80 million below what was projected for 2015. They have also slashed their 2016 projection from $500 million to just $250 million.
These struggles are not the writer's fault. It's that consumers are gravitating to the website's viral videos, such as people seeing how many rubber bands will crush a watermelon. It's incredibly absurd, but that's what the public wants to spend their time watching.
Viral video content is now responsible for half of their revenue.
News videos are also doing better, as people look for quick updates on the fly. California Network already uses this model, producing its own newsbriefs each day, which are widely enjoyed.
But the age of the gumshoe reporter is quite dead. The presses will stop because nobody wants to read the news anymore, especially on paper.
Companies like Buzzfeed have a bright future as they expand and see what works and what doesn't. We are in a new wild west of media where the old, venerable cable corporations are fading and new, upstart maverick operations are opening everywhere. Adaptability is key.
Buzzfeed will need to adapt to succeed in the new market. Does that mean no more news? Perhaps not in the sense it covers news now, using catchy titles that invoke interest. People are growing weary of clickbait, especially when it does not deliver on its sensational promises. People want video content with some substance, and a lot of entertainment value. If anyone can make that formula succeed in news, it will be Buzzfeed.
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