While several BuzzFeed channels still exist, and their website still posts relatable content, BuzzFeed doesn’t run the numbers it used to back in the early-to-mid-2010’s. People who once enjoyed the content that BuzzFeed put out are looking back and wondering: what happened to BuzzFeed? Long story short: they’re dead.
BuzzFeed is an internet media and entertainment company established in 2006 and peaked in popularity in the early 2010s. Known for its list-based content and online quizzes, BuzzFeed took the internet by storm with their relatable content. Along with hit YouTube channels having creators such as the Try Guys, Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara with BuzzFeed Unsolved, and Safiya Nygaard, BuzzFeed was amassing tens of millions of views on YouTube. Yet, this popularity didn’t last forever, and soon BuzzFeed’s popularity began to die out. While their website and YouTube channels are alive, they don’t amass as many views and clicks as they once did. Once avid viewers of their content hear the name BuzzFeed and wonder: what happened to them? So, what did happen to BuzzFeed, the media corporation with so much promise? Simple: BuzzFeed died.
The Rise of BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 and was primarily known for its silly and relatable content. Its website was primarily known for short personality quizzes. It was only with their YouTube channel that the influence of BuzzFeed began to rise. With the Try Guys’ start in 2014, BuzzFeed’s views on their channels started to skyrocket. Soon content creators such as the Try Guys, Ladylike (with notable member Safiya Nygaard), and the BuzzFeed Unsolved Team (made up of Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara) took over the YouTube platform. These creators were the drive behind BuzzFeed’s success. Soon, BuzzFeed established their news network: BuzzFeed News. BuzzFeed was on the rise. Yet, with every rise, there’s a fall. Soon, BuzzFeed would begin to fall with the loss of its creators.
BuzzFeed’s Loss of YouTube Star Power
While many popular creators and employees left BuzzFeed, which at one point was a common genre of video on YouTube, one of the most notable was the Try Guys. The Try Guys was a group of four friends, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang, who made content for BuzzFeed. In 2018, the group left BuzzFeed to form their own company and YouTube channel, The Try Guys. Fulmer, Kornfeld, and Lee Yang stated reasons such as growth, “autonomy,” “creative control,” and their “independent careers” for leaving BuzzFeed. Haberserberger, on the other hand, commented that “They didn’t want to pay us enough” (quotes taken from “How We Left BuzzFeed, from 4 Different Perspectives” by The Try Guys/YouTube).
With other creators leaving, such as Safiya Nygaard from BuzzFeed’s LadyLike, the pressure was building on BuzzFeed. For a while, BuzzFeed Unsolved with Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara kept consistent views for the company. Yet once Madej and Bergara left to form their own company, Watcher, BuzzFeed’s peak was over, and the fall was on its way.
BuzzFeed’s Lack of Adaptability
Another way that BuzzFeed was failing was through the content present on its website. What’s the issue? Their content hasn’t changed with the times. BuzzFeed’s content still relies on the list-based content and millennial-based quizzes that were popular back in the 2010s. Quizzes on Harry Potter, Disney, and attractive celebrities are the main content on their website. While this content still resonates with some people, it doesn’t cater to the young audience BuzzFeed desires to reach. As a result, we see the content that BuzzFeed puts out fall flat with Gen Z. This leads even further to BuzzFeed falling flat as a media corporation.
The Death of BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed began to degenerate as a media corporation and still is today. Within the past few years, BuzzFeed has had to lay off hundreds of employees and faced controversy for most of these employees being POC and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Also, a lack of profitability in sections of their news extension, BuzzFeed News, lead to the shutting down of their Australian and UK-based news teams. These factors have led to a massive decrease in the stock and general popularity of BuzzFeed as a media corporation.
With the loss of creators, the inability to adapt to the needs of its audience, and bad decisions, BuzzFeed lost its traction. This fall of BuzzFeed shows that people weren’t in love with the media corporation itself but rather the creators that the corporation featured. The media company has now died out, with people still following the ex-BuzzFeed creators in their endeavors. BuzzFeed sets an example for the short-lived success that internet-based creators and corporations can face in modern entertainment.