BuzzFeed UK doubled turnover to £20.5m in 2016 but made pre-tax loss of £3.3m as it pumped investment into its international expansion, the company's first full accounts have revealed.
The UK subsidiary increased its losses from £109,000 in 2015 to more than £3.5m in 2016.
It’s not a landslide loss given the company is only four years old in the UK and has been pumping investment into its international expansion – nearly doubling its headcount since 2015 and establishing new subsidiaries in Spain, India, Mexico and Brazil. BuzzFeed UK acts as the holding company for its operations in Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Mexico and India.
But it’s notable given that as a digital media publisher, BuzzFeed doesn’t have the same overheads as newsprint titles do in printing and distribution, the rising costs of which have largely been blamed for titles such as the Guardian posting a £44.7m loss for the financial year ended 2 April 2017.
The publisher said the results were consistent with its expectations “considering it is in its early growth phase, and continuing to invest in a number of overseas subsidiaries”.
BuzzFeed UK was the digital publisher’s first international site. It had just three staffers when it launched in 2013, but now counts 204 staffers at its UK office, 138 of which is editorial.
It’s the first time BuzzFeed UK has reported its full accounts with Companies House, having previously been small enough to avoid publishing detailed financial information of its operations.
In August the publisher dropped its longstanding opposition to conventional digital banner advertising in a bid to make it less reliant on driving traffic to promoted posts, the benefits of which it will likely yield in its 2017 results.