Is BuzzFeed‘s growth slowing? That’s the story painted today by the Financial Times, which says that the company’s 2015 revenues were $80 million short of expectations.
The source of the private financial data is not named in the story– “people with knowledge of the situation” is as far as the FT would go. The article also claims that BuzzFeed has cut its internal revenue targets for 2016 in half, from $500 million to $250 million.
BuzzFeed, which I wrote about in March, has grown exponentially using a mix of data science and editorial experimentation. It’s also been an early adopter of platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat, which have only just begun figuring out how publishers will make money. And while many critics have pooh-poohed their work in the past, it’s becoming an outlet for serious journalism and breaking news, and is partnering with NBC to cover the Olympics this summer.
Plus, they wrapped rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded in a Facebook live stream that attracted 800,000 people last week.
A BuzzFeed spokesperson commented that “much of the information in the FT story is significantly incorrect. We are very pleased with where BuzzFeed is today and where it will be tomorrow. We are very comfortable where the digital content world is going and think we are well positioned.”