NBCUniversal Investing Another $200M in BuzzFeed

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BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti

Last year, NBCU dropped $200 million into both BuzzFeed and Vox Media.

NBCUniversal is investing another $200 million into BuzzFeed in a deal that will value the online publisher at $1.7 billion, sources have confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter

NBCU has now invested a total of $400 million in BuzzFeed since August 2015, when it made its first bet on the company at a $1.5 billion valuation. 

A spokeswoman for NBCUniversal declined to comment. A BuzzFeed spokeswoman provided THR with the statement she gave to Recode, which first reported about the deal. It reads: "We have a great relationship with NBCU. We're always talking about broadening the relationship as part of our plan to grow as an independent company." 

NBCU's initial BuzzFeed investment was announced just days after it put $200 million into Vox Media, the owner of such sites as The Verge, SB Nation and Recode, at a valuation said to be in the $1 billion range. 

In the months since NBCU's first BuzzFeed investment, media critics have questioned the long-term opportunity of BuzzFeed's push into digital video. Earlier this year, Financial Times reported that BuzzFeed had missed its revenue goals by $80 million and cut its 2016 projections. BuzzFeed has refuted the report and CEO Jonah Peretti told THR that "the only revenue number we set for this year we've been beating." 

In August, BuzzFeed reorganized to highlight video across its divisions. The company is now split into BuzzFeed News, with all news video operations reporting to editor-in-chief Ben Smith, and BuzzFeed Entertainment, which includes the lists and quizzes that BuzzFeed is known for as well as Ze Frank's BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. 

NBCU's second BuzzFeed investment comes a week after Discovery's $100 million investment into Group Nine Media — a rollup of Thrillist, The Dodo, NowThisMedia, Skeer and SourceFed Studios — drew comparisons to the Comcast-owned company's digital bets. But with another $200 million in BuzzFeed, NBCU's investment is also starting to look similar to the $400 million, in addition to its investment via joint venture A+E, that Disney has put into Vice Media.

Since NBCU invested in BuzzFeed, the two companies have collaborated on a number of initiatives, including BuzzFeed-produced Snapchat content tied to the Summer Olympics in Rio. Meanwhile, NBCU Cable Entertainment content chief Jeff Wachtel is working on developing online series Mom vs. Chef for broadcast. 

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