Posted on Nov 20, 2020 at 9:01 am
They are two symbols of the American press of the 21st century which will join forces. The online news site BuzzFeed announced Thursday evening that it would take control of its competitor HuffPost, another strong sign of the consolidation of the free online news industry.
Under this merger, the telecommunications group Verizon, owner of HuffPost, will take a minority stake in the new set. And BuzzFeed will be able to take advantage of Verizon’s technical and business opportunities to grow.
The financial terms of this transaction were not disclosed. Built on advertising, which until recently constituted almost all of their income, these sites have in common that they have suffered in recent years from competition from internet giants.
Advertising siphoned off by the Gafa
According to the eMarketer firm, Google, Facebook and Amazon thus captured more than 60% of online advertising revenue in 2019. BuzzFeed and HuffPost each had to resort to layoffs to adapt to the new market environment.
As early as 2018, BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti had already mentioned a merger with one or more market players. He had mentioned Vice, Vox, Refinery29 and Group Nine, but not HuffPost, which he also co-founded in 2005.
In the space of just a few weeks, in September and October 2019, the market had seen a wave of acquisitions. Vice thus acquired the information site dedicated to women Refinery29, for an amount evaluated at 400 million dollars by the “New York Times”, Vox the New York magazine and its sites, while Group Nine had bought PopSugar.
Created in 2005, the Huffington Post, which became the HuffPost in 2017, was one of the first “pure players” of information on the internet, a site without physical publication, only present online. It stays closer to a traditional media news site than BuzzFeed, which is ostensibly built to drive traffic and fuel social media.
Now diversified into video, online games and business partnerships, BuzzFeed is significantly larger in size than HuffPost.