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Vice and Buzzfeed ‘started believing their own hype’, says Guardian boss

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20.03.2019

Some of the commercial woes faced by companies like Vice and Buzzfeed may be because they started to believe their own hype, the boss of The Guardian has said, as he revealed his own company is now “out of danger”.

Speaking at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London, Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel was asked about the 2,500 or so media jobs cut so far this year by digital publishers including Buzzfeed and Vice. The cuts included a large proportion of Buzzfeed’s Australian news team.

Pemsel: The Buzzfeed viral nirvana was false and Vice’s attitude is no longer wanted

Pemsel told the audience that because venture capital investors had rushed to take stakes in the digital startups, they had started to believe they were immune to pressure faced by other publishers.

He said: “A lot of companies that have faced problems in the last six months perhaps started to believe their own hype.

“Some of their valuations were billions and billions of pounds. Perhaps a team who had strived hard, from start up to something of scale, might get complacent at that point.”

Pemsel said Buzzfeed was hit badly by Facebook’s algorithm change which reprioritised content from friends and relatives over that of publishers. And he alluded to a series of sexual........

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