By Sahil Patel
Among the companies hosting a Newfront for the first time in 2014, none maybe more interesting than BuzzFeed — that gargantuan publisher of lists, and more lists, and some quality original reporting, but really lists.
The company has a BuzzFeed Video division, led by online video pioneer Ze Frank. And as evidenced by even a cursory glance of the video page on BuzzFeed.com, the division is experimenting with ways to translate the publisher’s shareable articles to a video format. For instance: “9 Condom Facts to Wrap Your Head Around” (because the internet).
This extends to what BuzzFeed wants to do with original, branded content. Similar to its editorial strategy of creating “native ads” (ads that look like regular BuzzFeed articles) for its clients, BuzzFeed wants to create original videos for brands that don’t behave like most pre-rolls that you’re used to. Because people are more likely to share a custom branded video in the style of BuzzFeed editorial clips, than a regular 30-second ad.
This is not necessarily new information, but the strategy makes even more sense in light of two stats revealed in an interview AdAge conducted with BuzzFeed Video: only 10–15% of BuzzFeed’s video views occur on its website, and close to 60% of all BuzzFeed video consumption is happening on mobile devices.
BuzzFeed wants to make shareable content. And if its creating short-form branded content, with the express purpose of getting that clip out to as many relevant consumers as possible, then maybe that content shouldn’t (only) be housed under a large video page on BuzzFeed.com.
That’s the thinking at BuzzFeed Video, it appears. And that’s what it wants to pitch to advertisers during its Newfronts — instead of buying inventory against someone else’s great content, we can help you make your own.