In a Q1 earnings call, BuzzFeed’s CEO announces the company’s strategic shift towards embracing AI, just weeks after the closure of its news division and the layoff of 180 employees.
During its first-quarter financial call, BuzzFeed disclosed notable revenue declines and alluded to imminent changes on the horizon for the digital media company.
According to an official press release from the company, the media outlet is down 27% in its Q1 revenue compared with 2022. Additionally, both advertising and content revenue declined by at least 30%.
In response to these revenue declines, BuzzFeed’s founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, stated that the company will need to “adapt” and has plans to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) to address these challenges.
“By leaning into Creators and AI, I believe we can unlock new opportunities across our portfolio of trusted brands…”
The statement comes after BuzzFeed shut down its news division and laid off 180 staff toward the end of April. At the time, a spokesperson from BuzzFeed said none of the jobs were being replaced by AI, though Peretti commented that AI would become “part of our core business.”
Although BuzzFeed says AI is not taking over any jobs, other companies cannot say the same. Earlier in May, the CEO of technology firm IMB said that around 7,800 jobs at the company could be replaced by AI within years.
On May 9, the fast food restaurant Wendy’s announced it will be trialing an AI chatbot drive-thru operator it calls “FreshAI.” The bot is said to reduce costs so funds can be allocated elsewhere.
While companies may perceive Artificial Intelligence as a means to improve cost efficiency through job reductions, a study conducted by Accenture uncovered a concerning revelation. As advanced tools like ChatGPT continue to evolve, approximately 40% of working hours across diverse industries are potentially susceptible to being taken over by AI.