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January 2, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:18am

Buzzfeed UK posts £2.3m loss for 2017 but directors assured of support from US parent company

By Freddy Mayhew

Buzzfeed UK made a pre-tax loss of £1.9m on turnover of £33.4m in 2017, new financial figures filed on Christmas Eve last year show.

The digital-only news website, a subsidiary of US company Buzzfeed Inc, recorded a total loss of £2.3m for 2017.

The figures are an improvement on 2016, when the company made a total pre-tax loss of £3.3m on revenues of £20.5m.

Despite its losses, Buzzfeed UK’s directors say they have “received assurances” that its US parent company will continue to support it for at least a further 12 months.

The accounts show that the digital publisher increased its editorial staff to 181 in 2017, up from 138 on the year before, spending £16.3m on wages and salaries in total.

However, the figures do not include up to 23 newsroom redundancies that fell in January last year.

A Buzzfeed spokesperson said: “The financial results are reflective of a consolidated international organisation, including some but not all of Buzzfeed’s international operations.

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“After a period of investment, diversification and managing costs, we continue to focus on driving profitable growth.”

In summer 2018, Buzzfeed UK began asking readers for donations to sustain its journalism and keep it outside a paywall.

As a digital “pure player” with no print obligations, Buzzfeed has faced competition for digital advertising revenue from Facebook and Google, known collectively as the Duopoly.

The two tech giants are dominating UK digital advertising spend, taking the lion’s share of search and display online ad spend and new money.

Buzzfeed chief executive Jonah Peretti has previously said he is open to the idea of merging with other online media companies to be able to negotiate better terms with the Duopoly.

Read the full 2017 Buzzfeed financial statement.

Picture: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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