The British arm of Buzzfeed, a digital media company, revealed sales that are rapidly increasing but accumulating losses as it seeks international expansion.
The first set of full accounts of Buzzfeed UK that were filed at Companies House, report that turnover more than doubled in 2016 to reach £20.5m. Previously, the company was small enough to avoid having to publish detailed financial information.
The UK arm of Buzzfeed is the holding company for its operations in Germany and France. However, British advertising sales accounted for the broad majority of revenues, with just £2.6m of the entire turnover drawn from overseas. During the year, it set up new subsidiaries in India, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico, increasing its expenses faster than its sales. In 2015, the losses of Buzzfeed UK deepened from £109,000 in 2015 to more than £3.5m.
Buzzfeed UK stated that the results were in line with the expectations of the company “considering it is in its early growth phase, and continuing to invest in a number of overseas subsidiaries”. There was in increase in the number of staff by almost 50pc to 204.
The British operation was started more than four years ago. In the United States, Buzzfeed was launched over a decade ago and has accumulated $500m in private funding in seven rounds of investment.
Buzzfeed UK has built a large young audience by tailoring the company’s articles for distribution on social media websites such as Facebook and other social networks. Meanwhile, the news operation of Buzzfeed has built influence for the brand in politics.
Its commercial operation produces advertorial articles to run alongside quizzes, lifestyle, and news material from its editorial team.
Recently, Buzzfeed dropped a longstanding opposition to conventional digital banner advertising, fuelling speculation, however, that its chief executive, Jonah Peretti, was attempting to boost and diversify revenues ahead of a potential Wall Street float in 2018. Its most recent funding round in 2016 raised $200m from the cable behemoth Comcast at a valuation that is reported to be around $1.5bn.