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BuzzFeed, the news website, was poised to make its first profit, about $30 million, this year, after 14 years online. Group Nine, owner of The Dodo and Thrillist sites, was due for black ink after four years in the red.
Then the global lockdown struck.
Conventional newspapers and magazines with paid subscribers were already in steep decline as advertisers switched to the digital world.
With advertising being one of the first expenses business cut, when the economy shut down, websites are now suffering a significant loss of income.
Online ad sales overall are forecast to decline 19 to 23 percent this year. In response, BuzzFeed shed 70 workers and Group Nine let go 7 percent of its staff.
Leading news and lifestyle website Vice has furloughed 150 employees; Vox Media, 100; and Quartz, an economic news site, 80. The Outline, a lifestyle feature site, has folded.
To survive, companies are having to diversify. Vice produced television shows for Amazon, HBO, Netflix, and Showtime. BuzzFeed opened a toy store in New York City and sold cookware through Walmart as it tested a paid membership plan.
“They thought they had time to develop these other streams” of income, said analyst Ken Doctor at Newsonomics. “Now they ran out of time.”
Weaker publishers will close down or be taken over, predicted Nancy Dubuc, Vice’s CEO, adding that publishers also may form alliances to negotiate better deals with advertisers.
TRENDPOST: Different names, same game.
Unlike the Trends Journal, with its “Think for Yourself” motto, and, as political atheists, supporting only scientific facts and hard data, most publishers of digital and hard copy are agenda driven… they only provide socioeconomic, political and/or politically correct content that conforms to their bias.

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