BuzzFeed Leaks Show $5.9 Million Spend for Traffic From Facebook, Other Sources

Website spent nearly $1 million per month for half of 2014 to buy traffic as revenues climbed


BuzzFeed’s financials are no longer a secret after leaked documents spread on Wednesday.

Gawker obtained financials for the company showing very strong years from 2012 to 2014. BuzzFeed, which added more hard news reporters and ramped up its video production in that timeframe, tripled revenues from 2012-2013, its financials reveal. The company reached $46 million in revenue in the first half of last year.

In six months in 2014, the viral news and video site also made a large investment in Facebook, buying $5.9 million worth of traffic from the social giant (and some other websites). That’s $1 million per month for predominately paid Facebook traffic, a significant investment.

Another takeaway from the document is a mystery publisher that paid BuzzFeed $3.5 million to produce original videos, according to the site’s 2011/2012 financial statement.

On March 7, 2013, the Company entered into a Distribution Agreement with a publishing platform (“Publisher”) to provide certain audiovisual content to the Publisher. The agreement provides for a $3,500,000 guaranteed payment to the Company, in exchange for the Company providing original videos (the “Content”) for platform distribution. Under the Agreement, the Publisher retains 100% of advertising revenue sold by either the Company or the Publisher against the Content until it has fully recouped the payment amount, at which point advertising revenue is shared in an amount determined in the Agreement.

Gawker noted it’s not clear who the publisher is but BuzzFeed entered into a distribution deal with Google and CNN during that time period, producing videos under the “CNN BuzzFeed” brand.

Finally, the company’s revenue renaissance opened a lot more editorial desks: BuzzFeed doubled its editorial ranks over the last three years as revenue climbed.

The strong performance undoubtedly impacted NBCUniversal’s $250 million investment in the website in a deal announced last month that will distribute the legacy company’s content on BuzzFeed and vice versa.

BuzzFeed declined to comment to TheWrap for this story.