BuzzFeed News will begin asking readers for donations to fund the cost of its newsroom operation, according to multiple reports. While the website will remain free, the company is testing a module at the bottom of its newly launched standalone news site that invites readers to donate amounts ranging from $5 to $100. Previously, BuzzFeed News relied primarily on programmatic advertising to fund its news operations. But with marketers hesitant to run ads against potentially controversial news stories, many news organizations are looking at other forms of revenue.
The company is said to have missed revenue targets by 15%-20% in 2017. BuzzFeed News had been developing a membership program with the Google News Initiative, but opted to install the donation button after seeing the success other outlets, such as The Guardian, had with readers opting to support quality journalism.
Correction: BuzzFeed missed its revenue target in 2017 by 15%-20%. An earlier version of this brief incorrectly said it missed its revenue target by $350 million.