Digiday+ Member Article

Jonah Peretti, CEO and mastermind of BuzzFeed, is often looked at as something of a digital media prophet. (Sorry, Shingy.) Going back to his early experiments in viral content to his key role in developing Huffington Post to staring BuzzFeed as a new-style of digital media company, Peretti has earned a reputation for seeing around corners. That’s why the industry took notice at the tail end of 2017 when Peretti, a perennial optimist as all entrepreneurs are seemingly required to be, bluntly declared “media is in crisis.”

The following year seemingly bore that out. With Facebook and Google vacuuming up digital ad revenue, and Facebook seeing no requirement to financially support publishers, digital media companies like BuzzFeed hit a wall. The flameouts of 2018 — Little Things, Mashable, among others — were a harbinger of more carnage to come. 2019 saw Peretti’s pronouncement hit home as BuzzFeed cut 15 percent with fellow digital media star Vice also cutting, alongside cutbacks at Huffington Post and, most recently, New York Media.

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