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BuzzFeed Lays Off About 100 Staffers, Refocuses Content Efforts

BuzzFeed will lay off approximately 100 employees and refocus its content development efforts, the company’s CEO, Jonah Peretti, announced Wednesday.

The move comes as BuzzFeeed is anticipating falling far short of its revenue goals for 2017, a gap that will likely derail efforts to mount an initial public offering next year. The company is about 15-20% short of its $350 million target, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The 100 employees will largely be drawn from advertising sales and business operations, where Peretti signaled a different skill set is needed as BuzzFeed attempts to diversify beyond native advertising to other areas including e-commerce and programmatic ad sales. Because BuzzFeed employs 1,700 staffers, the layoffs amount to about 7% of the company.

“As our strategy evolves, we need to evolve our organization, too — particularly our Business team, which was built to support direct sold advertising but will need to bring in different, more diverse expertise to support these new lines of business,” Peretti wrote. “Unfortunately, this means we have to say goodbye to some talented colleagues whose work has helped us tremendously.”

BuzzFeed president Greg Coleman will step down as part of the reorganization, but remain as an advisor. The company is also currently searching for a COO.

Another part of the restructuring will see BuzzFeed Motion Pictures rebrand itself BuzzFeed Studio, bringing together internal and external content development efforts under one roof. BuzzFeed is expected to redouble its efforts on getting additional licensing opportunities such as its deal with Oxygen for an unscripted crime series.

BuzzFeed is also looking to expand its efforts to mint its own brands given the success of its food-themed vertical, Tasty. A new division, BuzzFeed Media Brands, will host Tasty and its other fledgling verticals, including an upcoming fashion-focused effort scheduled to launch next year.

The layoffs come amid increasing struggle for many digital-media companies who are vying for online advertising dollars, the overwhelming majority of which are absorbed by Google and Facebook. eMarketer estimated those two companies have a 63% share of digital ad dollars.

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