It comes on the heels of last week’s $200 million investment by NBCU in Vox Media, which owns such popular web properties as Re/code, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Vox.com and SBNation.
BuzzFeed boasts that it gets 200M monthly unique visitors and 1.5B monthly video views with its highly-shareable mix of quizzes, listicles (e.g., “21 Bikini Wax Stories That Will Make You Cringe”), and videos with titles such as “People Who Hate Cats Meet Kittens.”
NBCU’s buy-in marks another significant stage in the rapid growth of nine-year-old BuzzFeed, which last year received $50 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and opened the 4-acre BuzzFeed Motion Pictures studio complex on the former site of Big Lots discount store in Hollywood the following month. It’s also increasing its profile in the community, a la YouTube Space LA, with screenings at an adjacent outdoor venue dubbed BuzzFeed Throwback Theater, including last week’s 20th anniversary showing of “Empire Records” with a cast and crew Q&A.
More significantly, NBCU’s investment represents big media’s increasing interest in using of clickable, social-media friendly content to drive audience to its linear TV telecasts, while simultaneously creating for new monetization streams — a strategy NBC has employed to good effect with “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”
“It’s a fascinating time for the media industry; social, mobile, digital, and broadcast platforms are converging to create new opportunities to connect with global audiences, and we’re excited to partner with NBCUniversal to combine our respective strengths to build the future of news and entertainment,” said Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s Founder and CEO, in a statement.
As part of the deal, the two companies will explore strategic partnerships in the coming months on television content, movies and the Olympics, as well as with ad agencies and brands.
According to Re/code, NBCU’s $200 million investment in BuzzFeed is expected to bring the company’s valuation up to $1.5 billion, while its $200 million investment in Vox Media will bring that company’s valuation to $1 billion.