Is it time for Buzzfeed to grow up?
I can only assume that they will announce their IPO with a quiz — Buzzfeed, that is.
It will probably force you to pick between a bunch of seemingly random photos before kicking you to a page where they tell you “what stock you would be.”
If you answered all the boring photos you’d be IBM. If you picked the youthful ones, you’d be Alphabet. Party pics? Definitely Budweiser.
It will all be very flippant and light and, well, a bit vacant. That’s the Buzzfeed way. Always has been, which is a shame as it is a site that can also do some real, influential journalism. It won a Pulitzer this year.
But, it’s always about the quizzes. That’s what people think of when they think of Buzzfeed. It will forever be viewed as a 25-year old Millennial woman, basically. And a basic one at that.
But, like that 25 year old Millennial woman from 2011 — the peak of Buzzfeed’s coolness — middle age is approaching fast and it might be time to get serious.
To that end, Buzzfeed announced yesterday that it will become publicly listed after a merger with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners Inc. (Nasdaq: ENFA). As part of this transaction Buzzfeed secured approximately $150 million in financing and has a valuation of $1.5 billion USD.
The company is also looking to acquire Complex Networks, a network of media sites that are targeting Millennial and Gen Z users.
Basically, the O.G. youth lifestyle and news website is looking to create a media empire that will allow it to always be something for the person that’s reading, regardless of where they are in their life or where they lean politically.
The question though is will Buzzfeed continue to be relevant moving forward. You can acquire as many new sites as you like, but if the Mothership is sick then you’re going to have problems.
You could argue that there are always going to be basic 25 year old women looking to find out what fruit they are through a silly quiz, but the thing about Internet culture is that is that it’s timestamped. Buzzfeed probably doesn’t want to hear this, but to that 25-year old woman today, Buzzfeed is something that 35 year olds read.
That’s a problem in need of solving.
And, with the business yesterday, Buzzfeed might have bought themselves a bit more time to figure that out.
Perhaps they could write a list of the ways they can solve it. That would be very on brand.