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BuzzFeed’s Emerging Threat to Ad Agencies

Among the new initiatives mentioned in BuzzFeed’s latest funding news was that the fast-growing online publisher will build out its in-house creative agency for advertisers.

In doing so, BuzzFeed, which investors say is on track to generate at least $100 million in revenue this year, is also engaging in a creeping turf war with traditional advertising agencies. Those agencies already have seen their roles diminished as more advertisers work directly with other online publishers.

While nearly all of the ad executives who spoke with The Information said they had a good relationship with BuzzFeed and its creative services team, they are wary of the new reality of hybrid publisher-agencies that the company represents.

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“If your agency is so reliant on these singular content channels that BuzzFeed can take meaningful business away from you, then you really should worry about what else they are going to do,” another executive at a major ad agency said.

Hunter Walk and Jessica E. Lessin commented on this article.
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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Founding Partner, Eight
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
CEO, Brandless
Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
Adam D'Angelo
Adam D'Angelo
CEO, Quora
Brit Morin
Brit Morin
Founder & CEO, Brit + CO
Dustin Moskovitz
Dustin Moskovitz
Co-Founder, Asana
Christina Miller
Christina Miller
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Max Levchin
Max Levchin
CEO, Affirm
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Adam Mosseri
Director of Product, Facebook
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Alex Mather
The Athletic
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Martha Josephson
Partner, Egon Zehnder
James Murdoch
James Murdoch
Co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox
Andrew Kortina
Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
Ben Chestnut
Ben Chestnut
Co-Founder & CEO, Mailchimp
Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
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“In the case of BuzzFeed and social media and data they pull in, it makes sense that we have to work with them in that capacity. But I don’t know if I’d want all other publications to go that direction.”