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Media Podcast Journalism

BuzzFeed News slows podcasting ambitions to reinvest in video

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By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

September 20, 2018 | 3 min read

BuzzFeed News has slashed its podcasting team to double down on original video, seemingly a major driver of most top media players.

BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed News slows podcasting ambitions to reinvest in video

With the tired ‘pivot to video’ trope rearing its head again, BuzzFeed News is keen to reinvest its podcast efforts in creating original shows for social media. It has released a handful of its in-house podcast teams. They produced shows such as ‘See Something Say Something,’ ’The News’ and ‘Reporting To You.’ The move has had its critics.

Shani Hilton, vice president of news and programming at BuzzFeed News announced the new direction in a memo to staff acquired by the Wall Street Journal.

It read: “We’ve decided to move to a production model that is more like our TV projects - that is, treating shows as individual projects, with teams brought on as needed.”

The publication says only a handful of staff will be affected by the move, and it will continue to produce some podcasts, albeit with fewer resources.

The tightening of the belt stems from a digital advertising industry that its providing less bang for its buck for publishers. As a result, the company missed its financial targets by $350m in 2017, a hit that saw it very publicly chop 100 staff.

Since then, it has rolled out numerous rebrands of its sub-brands and has released an original TV show discussion strictly for social media consumption.

It comes as USA Today goes all out to promote its new investigative podcast, The City, which even launched with an augmented reality explainer - an example of a publisher not going cold on podcasts.

Media Podcast Journalism

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