Bustle Publisher Revenue Drops 10% As CPG and Parenting Brands Falter


Media company Bustle Digital Group (BDG), home to a portfolio of lifestyle publishers including Nylon, Bustle and Fatherly, is on pace to generate between $136 million and $144 million in revenue this year, according to three people familiar with its commercial health.

The revenue range represents a 10% to 15% decline from 2022, when the company generated $160 million in revenue, according to three sources. 

The loss will be the first time in a decade BDG has dropped in revenue year over year, chief revenue officer and president Jason Wagenheim said on a September episode of The Rebooting podcast.

“This is not a great year,” Wagenheim said. “It’s the weirdest, most volatile time I’ve experienced in almost 30 years of doing this, to be honest.” 

With only a handful of exceptions, media companies in every sector have struggled to grow revenue in 2023. 

Now, a lackluster fourth quarter has prompted yet another round of layoffs across the industry, as publishers including Vox Media, G/O Media, Condé Nast, Recurrent Ventures and The Washington Post are all amid reductions.

Advertising woes, Hollywood strikes and CPG challenges

According to three sources, several factors contributed to the dropoff in revenue. 

The ongoing malaise of the digital advertising sector has led to budget cuts, closures and layoffs across the industry, resulting in more than 20,000 layoffs this year through October, according to executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

BDG has been no exception: Earlier this year, it shuttered Gawker after clearing house at Mic and closing Input. The company generates 85% to 90% of its revenue from advertising, 85% of which comes from branded content and 15% of which comes from traditional media, according to a source familiar with its finances.

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