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BuzzFeed Takes The Cash, Looks To Expansion

Off-Site Won't Mean Off-Brand

Launched in 2006, BuzzFeed is perhaps the quintessential news and entertainment website of the social media age. While it began as a simple website for tracking viral content across the web, it is now a content creation behemoth with almost four hundred posts a day ranging from video to investigative journalism to its ever-famous lists and quizzes.

The website now seems to be looking to take a further step onto the international media stage, having secured $50 million in investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The website states that they intend to use the money to grow their profile as a media brand while maintaining the flexibility and agility of their start-up roots.

It is this seemingly inherent grasp of the vagaries of social media which has propelled BuzzFeed to its current 150 million monthly viewers. Jonah Peretti, co-founder and chief of the company, says that 75% of BuzzFeed’s traffic comes from social media sites; that is, people following links from Twitter or Facebook that others have posted. Perhaps more importantly, this is not a company which rests on its laurels when it comes to marketing itself online – it now gets more referrals from Pinterest than Twitter to its Life section, demonstrating a strong awareness of the shifting attentions of the online audience.

It is this restlessness, this determination to carry the ambition of a start-up into the body of a global media company, which marks BuzzFeed’s plans for the spending of its new windfall. One of these is the expansion of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, its video content creation arm, which is planning to produce everything from six second Vine videos to full 20 minute programmes.  

Not as immediately exciting, but perhaps more quietly revolutionary, is the site’s plan to start producing content for a range of other platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat. While other news channels have been realising the value of having a wide social media presence for some time now, those are almost always seen as a tools for leading readers back to the main site. This diversification, this reconception of a media company as something more amorphous, could herald a new era in content creation. It also demonstrates BuzzFeed’s awareness of the varied opportunities available to those willing to integrate themselves into a wider variety of platforms. What works on Vine may not work on Facebook, for instance, and there are extensive monetisation options available to those willing to adapt content to form in this way.

BuzzFeed has experience in this area already: three quarters of its revenue comes from BuzzFeed Creative, a division of the company which produced video and list content for advertisers which imitate the site’s own highly popular examples of such content. By expanding into platform-specific content creation, it’s not unlikely that you’ll soon be seeing ads on Instagram or Snapchat which look an awful lot like that list of ‘Fourteen Kittens Who Just Can’t Deal With Monday’ that you forwarded to twenty of your friends yesterday.


Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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BuzzFeed Takes The Cash, Looks To Expansion Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, August 11, 2014 Rating: 5
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