BuzzFeed fell short of its 2015 revenue target, according to a story in The Financial Times today. The digital media company, which has attracted VC money for its serious listicles/meets serious journalism/meets serious branded content strategy, had optimistically projected a 2015 revenue of around $250m but generated just $170m—a not insignificant difference of $80m. As a result, BuzzFeed halved its internal revenue target for 2016 from $500m to $250m, reports The Financial Times.
BuzzFeed disputed “much of the information” in the FT‘s story, but declined to provide its own figures.
“We are very pleased with where BuzzFeed is today and where it will be tomorrow. We are very comfortable with where the digital content world is going and think we are well-positioned,” a statement from a BuzzFeed spokesperson said.
One main issue, a source told the FT, is that, like traditional content paid for by advertising, branded content takes time to produce and are difficult to scale. No matter how shareable the content or how many page views it gets, someone still has to make it. And that’s hard to scale.
But if getting 800,000 people to spend part of their Friday afternoon watching Facebook until a watermelon explodes is a metric of success, well, BuzzFeed is doing just fine.