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BuzzFeed, Vice And Other Outlets Slash Jobs In A Challenging Market For Digital Media

Doctor, the analyst, says he expects more consolidation will happen among digital media companies, allowing them to cut costs and grow. Last year the news site Mic, which raised $60 million, was sold to Bustle, which creates content geared toward women, for about $5 million.

"Cost-cutting gets you the most immediate return to maintain profits," Doctor said.

Peretti, BuzzFeed's CEO, has said he would be open to mergers.

But for the hundreds of employees who lost their jobs in January, the layoffs were a sober dose of reality to a company that offered perks such as free lunches and was on a hiring spree not too long ago.

In August, BuzzFeed hosted a recruitment event with an open bar during the Asian American Journalists Assn. conference in Houston.

In recent months, however, former employees said the company began showing signs of financial strain, as some positions that were vacant were not filled.

The layoffs took a bitter turn when news leaked out that Peretti was considering allowing in dogs to cheer up the staff, but that the company would not pay for accrued time off for all the laid-off U.S. workers. BuzzFeed later reversed its position.

BuzzFeed "was viewed as this great hope for journalism," said one former employee, who declined to be named. "The speed with which we went from being the gold standard to suddenly being this place of gloom and doom is really head spinning."

(Times staff writer Alexa Diaz contributed to this report.)

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