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November 20, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:47am

Buzzfeed ad revenues rocket as publisher prepares to enter stock market

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed’s advertising revenues are up 45% so far this year, providing another sign of the market’s strong growth in 2021.

The digital publisher, which also owns Huffpost, today revealed its third-quarter figures ahead of plans to list on the US public market early next month.

In the three months to 30 September, the Buzzfeed group generated revenues of $90m, up 20% from $75m in the same period last year.

During the first nine months of the year, Buzzfeed’s revenues totalled $252m, up 27% on the equivalent period in 2020. Advertising sales were up 45% year-on-year to $137m.

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Buzzfeed recorded a net loss of $16m in the first nine months of the year, a 26% improvement on $21m in the same period in 2020.

Its adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) – which Buzzfeed management considers a “key metric” to “to measure the operational strength and performance” – came in at $7m. For the equivalent nine months in 2020, Buzzfeed recorded an adjusted Ebitda loss of $8m.

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Buzzfeed said its ad growth was “driven in part by an increase in time spent, an increase in programmatic impressions delivered across our owned and operated [O&O] properties and higher pricing for programmatic advertising on non-O&O properties”.

The ad market was hit badly by Covid-19 last year. Nonetheless, according to previous documents released by Buzzfeed, its ad revenues grew during 2020.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg Media chief executive Justin Smith told Press Gazette how his publisher, and others, had this year benefited from a “windfall of advertising spend that has really been unprecedented. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

Buzzfeed’s other revenues mainly come from content (including payments from clients for branded quizzes, Instagram takeovers and other services) and commerce, which includes affiliate marketplace and product licensing revenue.

Buzzfeed’s plans to enter the public market, through a merger with 890 5th Avenue Partners, a special-purpose acquisition company, will be voted on by its shareholders on 2 December. It could then list on the stock exchange on 6 December.

Ahead of the listing, Buzzfeed is due to complete the acquisition of Complex Networks, the publisher of brands including Complex and First We Feast.

Buzzfeed also today reported earnings figures for Complex Networks. The business recorded revenues of $84.3m for the first nine months of the year, down 3%. It made a net loss of $18.8m, down from $11.3m, and an adjusted Ebitda loss of $5.3m, down from $4.1m.

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