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BuzzFeed Is Going Public. But Is It Cheugy?

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Rawpixel on Deposit Photos

BuzzFeed recently made a huge announcement. You probably know it’s a popular digital media company known for shareable content such as relatable listicles, entertaining quizzes and enthusiastic videos. Well, the company announced that it will go public and merge with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners. The target valuation is a staggering $1.5 billion. What does this mean?

BuzzFeed is financially successful enough to go public and obtain other large media companies such as Complex Networks and HuffPost. But many still view BuzzFeed — specifically BuzzFeed News — as a questionable news source. And another question remains: Is it cheugy?

Do Gen Z and Millennials like BuzzFeed?

So, who even looks at BuzzFeed’s content? There is almost no updated information about BuzzFeed’s demographic online. But there is some data about Gen Z. According to the company’s website, a large Gen Z digital audience consumes its content. Every month, the company reaches 7% of the newest generation worldwide and 44% in the U.S. Also, a study revealed that in February 2020, 14% of U.S. adults used BuzzFeed as a news source. It followed close behind one of its largest competitors, HuffPost, with 16%. 

The general consensus on Twitter and Reddit — websites that are predominantly used by Gen Z and Millennials — is that the brand is only popular because of its quizzes, food videos and BuzzFeed Unsolved. 

But whether or not the content is entertaining or “cheugy” continues to be debated. Cheugy is a new term that describes trends that were extremely popular a few years ago but are now out-of-date and cringe-worthy. Examples of cheugy trends include wearing skinny jeans, buying “Girl Boss” themed products and being overly obsessed with Harry Potter. Time will tell if it gets branded with this title.

Is the news branch credible?

In recent years, BuzzFeed News quickly grew, publishing multiple prominent exposés, including the Kevin Spacey sexual misconduct accusation. And the news site recently won a Pulitzer Prize. But many still call the company a joke because it is known for its lighthearted and silly content. 

One Twitter user was “shook” about the Pulitzer Prize win.

Another user highlighted the very different sides of content the outlet produces. 

Most of the positive tweets are about its long-running documentary series, BuzzFeed Unsolved.

But if it’s not extremely popular, how is it profitable?

How does BuzzFeed make money?

In 2020, the outlet produced $321 million in annual revenue. Its newer e-commerce platform, BuzzFeed Shopping, is the largest reason for the rapid revenue growth. 

The media corporation launched BuzzFeed Shopping in July 2020. In articles and listicles on the website, the “Quick View” button found under featured items allows readers to send items to their shopping carts. Readers can then purchase directly from BuzzFeed instead of an affiliate link or a retailer’s website. This feature allows it to have more consumer time on its website and earn larger commissions. And the company obtains 10% in commission from affiliate links. But shopping directly on BuzzFeed’s website gives the company 25% in commission.

Do you think BuzzFeed will stay afloat? Is it paving the way for news sites to become more popular and profitable? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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