Buzzfeed UK doubles turnover but losses rise on the back of rapid expansion

Nicola Sturgeon during the Scottish independence referendum
Buzzfeed UK launched four years ago but has become a prominent political publisher, including during the Scottish independence referendum

The British arm of the digital media company Buzzfeed has lifted the lid on its finances for the first time, revealing rapidly increasing sales but mounting losses as it pursues international ­expansion.

Buzzfeed UK’s first set of full ­accounts, filed at Companies House, reveal that turnover more than doubled last year to reach £20.5m. The company was previously small enough to avoid having to publish detailed ­financial information.

Buzzfeed’s UK arm is the holding company for its operations in France and Germany. British advertising sales accounted for the vast majority of revenues, however, with only £2.6m of the total turnover drawn from overseas. During the year it established new subsidiaries in Spain, India, Mexico and Brazil, increasing expenses faster than sales. Buzzfeed UK’s losses deepened from £109,000 in 2015 to more than £3.5m.

Buzzfeed UK said the results were consistent with its expectations “considering it is in its early growth phase, and continuing to invest in a number of overseas subsidiaries”. Its staff ­increased by nearly 50pc to 204.

Buzzfeed's story about Jeremy Corbyn saying he would stay on as Labour leader whatever the outcome of the General Election was picked up by several other outlets

The British operation was launched more than four years ago. In the United States Buzzfeed was founded over a decade ago and has raised $500m in private funding in seven rounds of ­investment.

The company has built a large young audience by tailoring its articles for distribution on Facebook and other social networks. Buzzfeed’s news operation has meanwhile built clout for the brand in politics.

Its commercial operation creates ­advertorial articles to run alongside news, quizzes and lifestyle material from its editorial team.

Buzzfeed recently dropped longstanding opposition to conventional digital banner advertising, however, fuelling speculation that Jonah Peretti, its chief executive, was seeking to boost and diversify revenues ahead of a potential Wall Street float next year. Its most recent funding round last year raised $200m from the cable behemoth Comcast at a reported valuation of around $1.5bn.