BuzzFeed Lays Off 12% of Workforce

CEO Jonah Peretti made the announcement in an internal memo that about 180 staffers would be let go

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BuzzFeed is reducing 12% of its workforce, roughly 180 staffers out of an estimated 1,500, CEO Jonah Peretti said in an internal memo sent to staffers not affected by the layoffs on Tuesday.

The news, which came at 8 a.m. PT, primarily affects the sales, tech, production and content (video and dot-com) divisions for BuzzFeed and Complex, according to a spokesperson. Employees of BuzzFeed News, HuffPost and those at Tasty will not be impacted.

Per Peretti’s note, the reasoning given was a “combination of worsening macroeconomic conditions, and the ongoing audience shift to vertical video, which is still developing from a monetization standpoint,” requiring BuzzFeed to lower its costs. The CEO added that staff salaries are the “single largest” cost at the company, adding that the reduction is “an essential part of cost cutting.” At the same time, BuzzFeed is in the process of completing its integration of Complex Networks into BuzzFeed, Inc., where Peretti said the company saw “clear opportunities to consolidate and centralize some key functions and teams where we’ve had duplication.”

“I want all of you to know that these changes do not reflect on the good work the affected employees have done over the years to build our company and our brands,” Peretti said. “In order for BuzzFeed to weather an economic downturn that I believe will extend well into 2023, we must adapt, invest in our strategy to serve our audience best, and readjust our cost structure.”

The CEO outlined next steps as “investing in areas that will drive growth, and shifting away from areas with lower audience engagement,” as well as “building a more robust creator business, which requires a close conduit between content, business, and tech, and bringing additional skills and tools to the organization.”

He concluded in the memo, “I know that there’s nothing I can write here to make this easier for anyone losing their job or a close colleague today. While I believe in the strategy we’re pursuing, and know it’s necessary to navigate the challenging year ahead, that’s no comfort if you are directly or indirectly affected today. So my focus, which I know [chief people officer] Chandler [Bondan] and the rest of our leadership team shares, is to give impacted employees the respect and support they deserve as they exit the company.”