BuzzFeed-HuffPost Merger Proves Digital Media’s ‘Band Together or Bust’ Dilemma

”New media companies that were flourishing five or 10 years ago are now faced with a tough choice,“ Peter Bittner, a journalism professor at UC Berkeley, tells TheWrap

It wasn’t so long ago that BuzzFeed and HuffPost, two of the biggest digital-first media companies founded in the early 2000s, posed such a serious threat to legacy-media stalwarts that the New York Times ordered up an “innovation report” to compete against these journalism upstarts.

That was in 2014. But now the upstarts have fallen on hard times, struggling to maintain online readership and advertising revenue, often at the mercy of tech giants like Google and Facebook that control the levers of both. Last Thursday, BuzzFeed — buffeted by layoffs and advertising declines in a financially turbulent year — announced it would acquire struggling HuffPost in an all-stock deal that gives HuffPost owner Verizon Media a minority stake in BuzzFeed, marking yet another major media merger within the past year.

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J. Clara Chan

Media and politics reporter • • Twitter: @jclarachan

Sean Burch

Tech reporter • • @SeanB44