The growth and significance of BuzzFeed
Launched in 2006, Buzzfeed, the viral Internet media company that covers and provides content on such topics as politics, DIY, business and of course, kitties, has lately received a lot of attention in the media. The big news being that Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, is investing $50 million into Buzzfeed, which receives 150 million monthly views.
The funding means changes, and it looks like those changes will be happening under a new BuzzFeed president. Greg Coleman, who was recently announced as the new president at the viral website, is a former president of the Huffington Post. According to USAToday.com, it’s a homecoming of sorts as he rejoins Huffpo alums and co-founders Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s CEO, and Ken Lerer, chairman.
Some of the changes coming to BuzzFeed include a major expansion to its video division. Under the leadership of Ze Frank, this entails working with Hollywood studios to produce feature-length films. CNBC.com reported that the company is actually bringing on board Michael Shamberg, a producer known for movies like “Pulp Fiction” and actor and comedian Jordan Peele as an advisor. However, initially, the video division will mostly concentrate on distribution and hosting video content on BuzzFeed.com and YouTube.
Meanwhile, Nieman Journalism Lab also reported that BuzzFeed is dividing the business into three departments: social and experimental content, news and lifestyle, which will be headed under BuzzFeed Life. The Life section is new to the site and is a result of the company’s success on Pinterest. This specific expansion will see 25 additional hires added to its team of 10.
According to Nieman, Peggy Wang and Emily Fleischaker are to head BuzzFeed Life, while Jack Shepherd will run the social BuzzTeam division. Doree Shafrir will cover entertainment and culture, Lisa Tozzi on breaking news and Shani Hilton on global news standards. Also joining the site is Adam Serwer as a national editor.
Buzzfeed will also launch a new project called BuzzFeed Distributed, which will produce original content for platforms like Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram and Vine. An announcement from the company noted that Summer Anne Burton would be leading this team made up of 20 staffers. Additionally, BuzzFeed International will continue to grow, expanding into India, Germany, Mexico and Japan.
BuzzFeed was also one of the first news outlets to truly embrace native advertising and has reportedly found the practice to be quite successful. According to CNBC.com, Jonathan Perelman, BuzzFeed vice president of agency strategy, said: “Nobody comes to BuzzFeed or really any other site for the ads. They’re coming to BuzzFeed for content and that’s exactly what our ads are.” CNBC.com went on to note that a recent campaign for Friskies cat food, a video called “Dear Kitten,” has been the most successful video produced by the site ever with 15 million views on YouTube.
With its knack for getting views through viral video, memes and photos of cats, BuzzFeed launched itself into the media world and began to make a name for itself. Now, as it continues to grow in news reporting as well as multimedia initiatives, it will certainly be watched for tips and tricks as the rest of the industry continues to remold and reshape in search of a successful business model.
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