Twitter has pulled funding for BuzzFeed’s “AM to DM” weekday morning information and pop-culture present on the social platform, main the digital media firm to droop manufacturing and lay off workers engaged on this system.
In a memo to workers Wednesday, obtained by Selection, BuzzFeed head of studio Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale wrote that Twitter — citing the COVID-19 disaster — was dropping monetary assist for “AM to DM” in addition to one other BuzzFeed programming undertaking that had been deliberate.
“[A]fter a number of high-level conversations, Twitter knowledgeable us that as a result of affect of coronavirus on the enterprise, they’ll not fund ‘AM to DM’ or the brand new programming initiative we’d deliberate with them within the close to time period,” Vanegas-Gesuale wrote within the memo. “Sadly, BuzzFeed can not assist these exhibits with out the funding from Twitter, so we’ve no selection however to droop manufacturing on each earlier than the tip of April.”
The final day for BuzzFeed staffers who’re being laid off on account of the shutdown of “AM to DM” and the opposite Twitter-backed present might be April 28, per the memo.
A Twitter spokesperson stated in an announcement, “We’ll proceed to associate with BuzzFeed on the opposite content material collaborations we’ve world wide, and discover new methods to carry compelling video content material to folks on Twitter.” Final month the corporate warned buyers it will miss Q1 monetary targets due to a drop in advert income regardless of a spurt of recent Twitter customers.
A BuzzFeed rep declined to remark. The shutdown of “AM to DM” was first reported in CNN’s Reliable Sources newsletter.
In a statement, BuzzFeed Information Union (which is affiliated with the NewsGuild of New York) referred to as the shutdown of the Twitter exhibits “a devastating blow to our colleagues on the manufacturing groups who’re dropping their jobs.” The union stated lots of the laid-off workers members are usually not receiving severance pay or advantages previous April as a result of they’re labeled as freelance contractors.
“The BuzzFeed Information Union has been deeply pissed off by the corporate’s refusal to acknowledge that the writers, hosts and producers who’ve labored so laborious on ‘AM to DM’ and the remainder of our authentic video programming are an integral a part of our unionized newsroom,” the union’s assertion stated.
First launched in September 2017, “AM to DM” was renewed by Twitter final yr by the tip of 2019. The hour-long dwell present, working Monday-Friday, has been a dependable viewers draw: The final live-streamed version of “AM to DM,” from March 27, has greater than 540,000 viewers. Since then, the “AM to DM” crew has continued producing shorter segments from residence that includes latest stay-at-home interviews with Wendi McLendon-Covey, Giancarlo Esposito, Rainn Wilson, Dan Bucatinsky and James Patterson.
Final month BuzzFeed reduce salaries of most workers with prime execs taking the largest hit (and CEO Jonah Peretti forgoing pay in the interim), a transfer designed to keep away from layoffs given the financial downturn attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her memo, Vanegas-Gesuale stated BuzzFeed “might be working additional time to revive our partnership with Twitter, and we hope with as a lot of the present crew as attainable.” The “AM to DM” present was overseen by govt producer Emily Rothschild, who helped launch the present in 2017, after former EP David Hatcher exited to affix ABC Information in February.