Buzzfeed strategy chief: ‘Traditional publishers are like leaky boats’

Hernandez speaking this morning

Hernandez speaking this morning

Buzzfeed’s head of strategy said today that traditional publishers are like boats with holes, struggling to plug disappearing revenue streams and keep up with digitally native publishers.

Keith Hernandez, executive director of international strategy for the social content site told his audience at Mumbrella360 this morning: “Old publishers are stuck. They’re losing revenue from one end, like a boat with holes. They’re spending their energy trying to fill in those holes, whereas we’re not beholden to old revenue streams.”

But Hernandez admitted that pressure was on BuzzFeed too, a site known for lists and funny cat videos rather than breaking news, an area that it wants to expand in to. BuzzFeed recently hired a breaking news journalist to bolster the news output from its Sydney bureau.

“We’re doing well, but we can quickly fall if we don’t have the tenacity to innovate,” he said.

“We’re growing smartly not quickly. We weren’t sure why our quiz lists did not take off at first, but they did eventually. Now we’re investing heavily and video, which will be a big part of our future, as will news.”

Hernandez’ comments come a few weeks after BuzzFeed broke an exclusive story on a leaked memo detailing the failings of New York Times’ digital strategy.

The internal report detailed the famous newspaper’s print-first mentality and preoccupation with page one. It also highlighted shortcomings relating to problems with the optimisation of searched content and the packaging and distribution of content on social media.

Robin Hicks


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