Buzzfeed are to axe up to 45 of the news website's 140 UK staff from business and editorial, described as “chilling for the whole media industry”, as it emerges the company can't make the maths work.
The UK arm has reported a pre-tax loss of £3.3m last year despite more than doubling its turnover to £20.5m on the previous year, full financial figures published for the first time by the company in October revealed.
Those at risk include 23 out of 76 newsroom staff, according to Buzzfeed management.
According to media analyst Comscore, traffic to Buzzfeed UK has fallen from 13m unique views at the start of 2015 to 10.3m in October this year.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “The whole union will have been shocked by the scale of what is being put forward and will be rallying behind our members at risk of redundancy.
“At a time when other organisations are investing in digital for the long term, cutting back staff with these skills seems perverse.
She added: “As the union is currently battling with redundancies across local newspaper groups such as Newsquest, it is deeply worrying to see such a trail-blazing digital enterprise to be in such trouble. It has sent a chill throughout the whole industry."
“That is why the union has called for an independent inquiry in the media in the UK. With Google and Facebook hoovering up virtually all digital advertising, there are huge questions to be answered for the future of journalism.”