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Is BuzzFeed Launching a New Era of Media Innovation?

Is BuzzFeed Launching a New Era of Media Innovation?
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BuzzFeed, a 15-year-old company, audience went in December. Vox Media, another digital port, in consideration A similar leap.

It’s time, he says John Wehbe, associate professor who heads Northeastern’s graduate programs in journalism and media innovation. He says digital media companies were competing on the defensive that prevented them from seeking new sources of revenue.

Says Wehbe, author of the bookSocial Truth: News and Knowledge in a Networked World“I was expecting that there would be more media companies eventually able to do this kind of thing.”

John Wehbe (left), assistant professor of journalism who heads Northeastern University’s graduate programs in journalism and media innovation; and Yaakov Barth, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Joseph J. Raisman Research Professor. Photos by Matthew Modono/Northeastern University

Budget shortfalls and staff cuts have forced digital media companies to consider short-term emergencies. Wehbe says BuzzFeed’s move signals a new commitment to long-term growth.

“Going out to the crowd is a way of inflation,” he says. Yakov Bart, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Research Professor Joseph J. Raisman at Northeastern University.

Bart says outlets like BuzzFeed and Vox were hurt when Facebook’s algorithm changed in 2018 To confirm content that users share on digital media companies’ account.

Traditional news companies such as The New York Times, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal have developed a steady revenue stream by adhering to the paywall. BuzzFeed and Vox were unable to solicit subscriptions from users, so they tried another route. BuzzFeed acquired HuffPost in 2020, while Vox last month agreed to buy Group Nine MediaThe boosts that have become essential for digital businesses to thrive, says Bart.

“The way they can make more money is by merging, which allows them to increase their market power and claim a greater share of content ad revenue from Facebook,” Bart says.

Although BuzzFeed made a disappointing $16 million profit when it went public last month by merging with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) — far less than the $250 million that would have been raised if all of SPAC’s partners had. They participated in the merger – Wihbey sees the transition to the general market as a breakthrough.

https://news.northeastern.edu/2022/01/06/buzzfeed-public-media-company/ Lily McCollum, who studies theater and American Sign Language, William Hove, who studies communication studies with a minor in theater, working on radio plays At the Shelman Hall recording studio.  Photo by Matthew Modono/Northeastern University

“In the age of the internet, there has been a lack of investment in talent and tools — so $16 million can go a long way in growing three or four entrepreneurs within your company who can start new editorial products or discover new ways to deliver news content,” Wehbe says. That this was really transformative, but no one had the desire or the capital to do it.”

The downside, say Northeastern professors, is the loss of independence, which can manifest itself in subtle ways.

“Competitor ratings will be linked to this overall BuzzFeed rating,” Bart says. “The question is what is a fair evaluation?”

Wehbe adds, “I think they will have less autonomy, probably; not because there will necessarily be direct influence from a council, but because the end result will become more important.

“The big downside is that they have to run really fast and take some risk to meet investor expectations,” he says. But Buzzfeed was already on it bypass It revolves around its strategy – these are the ups and downs of the media industry.”

Digital media companies may explore additional opportunities from emerging cryptocurrencies and the possibility of data mining regulations that would prevent Facebook and other social media companies from exploiting users’ private information.

Says Wehbe, who praises Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, as a media entrepreneur capable of envisioning new paths.

For media inquiries, please contact media@northeastern.edu.

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