Sep 17, 2019

BuzzFeed looks to hire a president

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

BuzzFeed is looking to hire a new president, according to an internal memo sent from CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti to staff on Tuesday, obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The role has been vacant since 2017, when then-President Greg Coleman left the position to become a senior advisor to the company. Since, BuzzFeed has diversified its revenue to be less dependent on advertising.

  • It has relied on chief revenue officer Lee Brown to manage its ad sales and international business operations, but according to the note, Brown is departing to become Spotify’s VP, Global Head of Advertising, so operations are shifting as a result.
  • Brown's responsibilities and newer revenue lines will eventually roll up underneath the new president. 

What's new: According to the memo, starting next month, Peretti will run business meetings with BuzzFeed's SVP Ad Strategy and Partnerships Ken Blom.

  • The note says that BuzzFeed will be profitable for the second half of 2019 and "the entirety of 2020."
  • Over the next few months, Peretti says he will manage BuzzFeed's business team "in the style of a smaller startup, with many people reporting to me including sales leadership, international, commerce leadership, operations and research, with everyone stepping up to solve problems and get things done." 

Be smart: BuzzFeed's business is no longer only centered around viral content that brings in lots of ad revenue. Today, ads are only one part of the BuzzFeed business, and things like commerce, brand consulting, events, content licensing and studios all bring in significant portions of BuzzFeed's revenue.

By the numbers: Peretti says BuzzFeed is poised to have "its biggest fourth quarter in its history." He says new lines of businesses, like content licensing and commerce, that didn't exist two years ago, "represent 9-figures of revenue today."

  • At a conference last week, Peretti told Axios that BuzzFeed News isn't profitable. "The goal is to make it sustainable," Peretti said. He said that BuzzFeed's website, entertainment vertical and Tasty brands are profitable, which allows the company to invest in "something like news which is important to the DNA of company, and its brand."

Go deeper: BuzzFeed CEO's 8-step plan to "unbreak" the internet

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.