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April 4, 2024

How Independent’s Buzzfeed deal supercharges its social media reach

Food network Tasty UK has 20 million followers on Facebook alone.

By Dominic Ponsford

The Independent’s deal to take over Buzzfeed and Huffpost in the UK has given the brand an instant 25% uplift in terms of its monthly website audience.

But the growth in social media presence for The Independent from the deal is far more dramatic.

The Independent currently boasts just under 16 million followers across Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.

The new deal boosts its total reach across the platforms to nearly 52 million followers.

Under the multi-year licensing deal announced last week The Independent has taken ownership of Buzzfeed UK, Huffpost UK and food network Tasty UK.

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Chief executive Christian Broughton said: “By pooling the talent, tech and data, and creating Britain’s biggest publisher network for Gen Z and millennial audiences, we seek to unlock investment in new editorial products and services that will ultimately benefit the readers of all the titles.”

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Under the deal The Independent’s commercial team will be able to sell across the websites and social media profiles of Buzzfeed UK and Huffpost UK. Tasty UK does not have a UK-facing website, but it does have enormous followings on Facebook, Tiktok and Instagram.

Over the last year, Facebook in particular has become less important for publishers in terms of referral traffic. But it remains commercially useful as a place to publish paid-for commercial content. Paid brand partners are not concerned about whether they reach their target audience on publisher websites or on third-party platforms.

Revenue from native articles and video on Facebook, Tiktok and Instagram has the benefit that it is kept entirely by publishers.

According to Ipsos iris the Huffpost UK website reaches 2.6 million people per month in the UK and Buzzfeed UK has a monthly audience of 2.1 million (neither brand is currently inside the UK top 50 news websites ranking).

This increases The Independent’s current monthly website reach of 19.4 million by 25% to 24.2 million.

In terms of audience minutes, Huffpost UK totals 16 million minutes per month while Buzzfeed UK is on 27 million, according to Ipsos iris.

This gives the new Independent group of websites a combined 172 million audience minutes in February. This is still behind the likes of 234 million minutes for the Mirror and 1.6 billion minutes for Mail Online.

In terms of social media reach, the new brands boost The Independent’s following on Facebook from 10 million to 23 million, on Tiktok from around 500,000 to 1.5 million and on Instagram from 819,000 to 11.7 million.

Tasty UK dominates, with 20 million followers on Facebook alone and a further 10.6 million on Instagram.

The financial figures from 2022 help explain why the deal was done. Buzzfeed UK made an operating loss of £4.2m, whereas Independent Digital News and Media made an operating profit of £1.9m.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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