Home Ad Exchange News More Layoffs At BuzzFeed; Can’t Spell “Bundle” Without “Bled”

More Layoffs At BuzzFeed; Can’t Spell “Bundle” Without “Bled”

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BuzzCuts

BuzzFeed is laying off 12% of its workforce, Variety reports, based on an SEC filing.

The reduction will apparently help BuzzFeed “weather an economic downturn that I believe will extend well into 2023,” writes CEO Jonah Peretti in a memo. 

BuzzFeed’s revenue was flat YoY in Q3, while its net loss for the quarter grew from $3.6 million to $27 million. On top of that, BuzzFeed CFO Felicia DellaFortuna set expectations for a “somewhat muted” seasonal sales lift this year.

The SEC filing offered numerous reasons for the cuts, and chief among them are “challenging macroeconomic conditions.” BuzzFeed also recently completed its acquisition of Complex Media and says there were duplicate roles across the two companies.

And then there are all the shiny objects, like the shift to short-form vertical video – let’s call it the TikTok pivot – which is “still developing from a monetization standpoint.” Guess this new revenue stream is currently more of a trickle.

BuzzFeed experienced a prior round of layoffs in March, when the company reduced headcount for the BuzzFeed News group (i.e., its newsroom) and Complex’s editorial staff.

I’ve Got A Super Bridge To Sell You

Microsoft played around with the idea of building a “super app” that would combine shopping, gaming, social media, news and a search engine in one place, The Information reports. 

The allure of a mythical super app has enticed many a tech company. (Shira Ovide of The Washington Post notes that Twitter, PayPal, Snap and Uber have all explored the super app concept.)

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Creating a super app is an especially tempting prospect for Microsoft, which already owns gaming assets, Bing search, a coupon and shopping service and business services through Teams.

Some tech companies have succeeded in their quest for super app status. Just look at Chinese tech giant Tencent. But even for a trillion-dollar monster like Microsoft, there’s no easy route to establishing a Western super app without first launching a line of super-popular smartphones or its own mobile operating system. And the fact remains that even if Microsoft can pull off a super app, it still needs to distribute it – and for that, it’s beholden to the rules (and fees) of Apple’s and Google’s respective app stores.

A Bundle Of Joy

Ten or so years ago, TV subscription bundles made $93 billion per year in the US. Advertising added $60 billion to the pie, while DVD sales and rentals ($19 billion) and cinema revenue ($10 billion) were healthy add-ons. 

Bundles were a cash-flow machine that supported many broadcasters and movie studios. 

No longer. In 2023, expect “multiple business casualties” as some of those companies flame out and cede their apps and content libraries to larger players in streaming media, foretells Jason Kilar in a Wall Street Journal column. 

Kilar says it would take 300 million subscriptions at an average of $15 per month for a streaming service to “generate attractive cash flows” for investors, considering the current cost of content production. And he would know. Kilar was Hulu’s founding CEO and the former CEO of WarnerMedia, which included HBO (back when that was still part of AT&T).

“In this scenario, no more than three global entertainment companies are likely to attain the streaming-service scale required,” writes Kilar, who stepped down from WarnerMedia in April before the company officially merged with Discovery.

(You can breathe a sigh of relief, though. Kilar specifies that those three category winners exclude Amazon and Apple, which have different cash flow priorities.)

But Wait, There’s More!

A mass shake-up within the top ranks of ad agencies has strained client relationships this year. [Ad Age]

Warner Bros. Discovery puts HBO Max back on Amazon Prime Video. [release]

Speaking of, David Zaslav’s top priority at Warner Bros. Discovery: Get the cash flowing again. [CNBC]

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO, sees no current path to profitability in “renting big sports.” [Reuters]

You’re Hired!

Anya Libova joins interactive content platform Apester as UK managing director. [release]

Creative marketing tech platform Adnami appoints Jeetesh Luhar as international sales director. [Mediashotz]

Media agency Anagram hires Kristen Abramo as managing director and Keisha Andrews as VP and head of media. [release]

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