The podcasting boom is seeing a retrenchment: BuzzFeed shuttered its internal podcasting division and will cancel most of its podcast shows.
As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the New York-based digital-media company will end podcasts including “See Something Say Something,” “The News” and “Reporting To You.” BuzzFeed News will continue to produce podcasts via third-party producers, but is shifting internal resources toward longer-form video projects.
“We’ve decided to move to a production model that is more like our TV projects — that is, treating shows as individual projects, with teams brought on as needed,” Shani Hilton, BuzzFeed News VP of news and programming, wrote in a memo to staff Thursday.
The move will result in only a “handful” of employees getting dismissed, per the Journal. But BuzzFeed News employees reacted to the cutbacks with deep dismay, according to CNN’s Oliver Darcy. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen the news team this collectively sad and upset, which speaks so clearly to how everyone feels,” one BuzzFeeder wrote in an internal email chain after the decision was announced, per Darcy.
In another podcast-biz pullback, New York-based Panoply Media, a sister company to Slate, laid off its entire editorial and direct-sales staff in a move to focus on podcast ad-serving technology. At the same time, Slate chairman and editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg announced that he will leave the company to form a new podcasting venture with author Malcolm Gladwell.
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Meanwhile, others are doubling down on podcasting. Radio and audio-streaming company iHeartMedia last week struck a deal to buy Stuff Media, parent of HowStuffsWorks, in a $55 million deal. Also last week, Endeavor launched a podcast division, hiring Moses Soyoola — former head of business development for Panoply — as GM of Endeavor Audio.