BuzzFeed is an American internet media company. It describes itself as the “social news and entertainment company … redefining online advertising with its social, content-driven publishing technology … provides the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment and video.” BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 in New York City as a viral lab, focusing on tracking viral content, by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III. Kenneth Lerer, co-founder and Chairman of The Huffington Post, started as a co-founder and investor in BuzzFeed and is now the Executive Chairman as well. The site is said to be one of the fastest-growing on the internet, with more than 40 million people a month viewing viral hits.
In August 2014, BuzzFeed raised $50 million from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, more than doubling previous rounds of funding. The site was reportedly valued at around $850 million by Andreessen Horowitz. BuzzFeed generates its advertising revenue through native advertising that matches its own editorial content, and does not rely on banner ads. In August 2015, NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment in Buzzfeed. Along with plans to hire more journalists to build a more prominent “investigative” unit, BuzzFeed is hiring journalists around the world and plans to open outposts in India, Germany, Mexico, and Japan.
BuzzFeed produces daily content, in which the work of staff reporters, contributors, syndicated cartoon artists, and its community are featured. Popular formats on the website include lists, videos, and quizzes. Whereas BuzzFeed was initially focused exclusively on such viral content, according to the New York Times “it added more traditional content, building a track record for delivering breaking news and deeply reported articles” in the years up to 2014. In that year, BuzzFeed deleted over 4000 early posts, “apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider”, as observed by The New Yorker.
The site’s content is divided into 28 sections: News, Buzz, Life, Entertainment, Quizzes, Videos, Animals, Beauty, Books, Business, Big Stories, Celebrity, DIY, Food, Geeky, Gif Feed, Ideas, LGBT, Music, Parents, Politics, Rewind, Sports, Style, Tech, Travel, Weekend, and World.
Buzzfeed’s website is also available in 10 different editions including US, UK, Australia, Brasil, Canada, Germany, Español, France, India, and México.
With 70 reporters and editors out of 180 staff in the US, BuzzFeed is formidable competition for any digital rival. But also grappling for internet users’ attention is the hugely popular Daily Mail website, Mail Online, which has ploughed significant resources into expanding overseas.
BuzzFeed receives the majority of its traffic by creating content that is shared on social media websites. The site continues to test and track their custom content with an in-house team of data scientists and external-facing “social dashboard.” Staff writers are ranked by views on an internal leaderboard. In 2014, BuzzFeed received 75% of its views from links on social media outlets such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
In addition to this, BuzzFeed also has now adapted social media on Snapchat. Particularly, BuzzFeed is present on the app’s ‘discover’ feature. This feature allows BuzzFeed content to be accessible to all Snapchat users. The content provided on BuzzFeed’s Snapchat is a synopsis of their website content, YouTube videos, and other interesting visuals. These components are woven into specific themes which allow BuzzFeed to creatively reach out to their audience in a way that other social platforms have not before.