Winners & Losers: BuzzFeed’s worth close to a billion, SeaWorld flops

Shark Week is the cruellest week

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 BuzzFeed

There’s gold in them thar cat gifs

Screenshot of BuzzFeed.com satirizing its listicle headline style

BuzzFeed, the online viral content factory, scored a $50 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz, the most prominent venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. The investment values the company at $850 million. BuzzFeed is one of the hottest media properties around today, having successfully exploited humanity’s taste for listicles, animated gifs, quizzes, and ’90s nostalgia. The website attracts 150 million unique page views every month, and advertisers are flocking to it. Flush with new cash, BuzzFeed plans to expand to overseas markets, and is even considering full-length films and shows. We can’t wait until “The Story of Egypt’s Revolution as told with Jurassic Park Gifs” hits theatres.

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SeaWorld

Those whales aren’t looking so killer

Satirical photo illustration showing SeaWorld animals on strike

It’s Shark Week, and there’s blood in the water. SeaWorld is learning that bringing wild animals into captivity and forcing them to perform tricks might not be the greatest business model. Shares in the aquarium theme park operator sank 35% on the back of a poor earnings report and lowered projections for the rest of the year. The company admitted for the first time that people might be staying away from its theme parks because of bad publicity. Blackfish, a popular documentary released last year, accused SeaWorld of mistreating its orca whales. SeaWorld executives were in denial for months about the negative attention: Back in March, CEO Jim Atchison suggested that Blackfish might be helping the company by increasing “interest in marine mammal parks.” The public is interested, but not in the way you hoped, Jim.

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