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Former BuzzFeed COO Jon Steinberg Hires Yahoo Executive for His Online News Startup

Steinberg says he has yet to raise money and that Yahoo executive producer Peter Gorenstein is his first hire.

Ina Fried for Re/code

Former BuzzFeed operating chief Jon Steinberg is working on a video news startup. And he’s made his first hire: Peter Gorenstein, a former executive at Yahoo’s in-house production company.

Industry sources say Steinberg, who helped BuzzFeed grow from a couple dozen people into one of the Web’s most important publishers, has been telling people he wants to create a new video company focused on business and finance news for millennials.

Steinberg told Re/code he hadn’t settled on a focus yet, or raised any money. But he said he sees a clear opportunity for a live news channel developed with the younger generation in mind — something traditional video news sites haven’t succeeded at.

“The category has been given up on. I think live and breaking news … I think there is going to be a version that exists for people in their 20s and 30s.”

Meanwhile, Steinberg says new distribution channels like Roku and Apple TV, along with Verizon’s Go90 service create opportunities to do live news coverage without having to go through traditional television operators like cable and satellite companies.

Gorenstein, who is based in New York, has been focused on producing content for Yahoo’s finance, technology and health channels. Steinberg left BuzzFeed in 2014 and shortly after went to run American operations for Britain’s Daily Mail; he left that job last year. Steinberg was able to sell some of his BuzzFeed shares via a secondary offering in late 2014, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Steinberg shared only the barest details about his new venture onstage at DLD earlier Monday but was feeling a little more forthcoming after celebrating a victory in a mock game show at the conference. (Disclosure: This reporter finished second in said game show, which revealed that Steinberg is clearly up to date on what valuations startups are getting these days.)

“I was on an adrenaline high,” Steinberg said.

Additional reporting by Peter Kafka.

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