Buzzfeed to extend native advertising push and expands creative offering for brands

Buzzfeed AustraliaBuzzfeed has unveiled a new specialist unit for brands called Buzzfeed Creative, signalling a ramping up of its native advertising offering following a US$50 million injection of funding.

The branded content offering consists of a team of 60 creatives, led by US-based director of creative services Melissa Rosenthal, and 15 branded video producers, led by head of branded video Matt Baxter. It is as yet unclear how many creatives will be based in Buzzfeed’s international offices including new offices in Japan and India, which were also officially unveiled today.

The announcement of the extended push into native advertising, with an expanded video unit, comes as a debate has been stirred internationally about the practice of native advertising, and whether it is good for new brands. In Australia Buzzfeed is also waiting to see if it will be reclassified as a news site by the IAB’s Nielsen Online rankings.

Buzzfeed Creative is to continue to roll out new publishing and video ad products under Greg Coleman, the newly recruited former president of ad tech firm Criteo, “as social advertising becomes an essential part of every brand’s marketing strategy,” the company stated.

The company has also announced the expansion of its video creation unit to offer “all moving images from a GIF to feature film and everything in between”. The new unit is called Buzzfeed Motion Pictures.

Buzzfeed’s editorial team is to be split into three divisions; ‘News’, ‘Buzz’ and ‘Life’. The news team is to double in size internationally, while the life division, which produces DIY, food and style content, is to triple in size.

The company has also launched a distributed content unit called Buzzfeed Distributed, which is geared to helping producers create content for the likes of Tumblr, Imgur, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and messaging apps.

Acquisitions could be on the cards too, with the company stating it wanted to “grow horizontally by adding entrepreneurial new units to continue expansion beyond Motion Pictures, Distributed, Creative, and International.

In a press statement, the company’s founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said that now was the “perfect time” to grow the company and increase the content it was producing in a bid to become the world’s “number one digital media brand.”

“The investment from Andreessen Horowitz [one of the backers along with Kenneth Lerer] will allow us to double down on our company’s mission by creating a new organization and expand rapidly in all areas,” he said.

Buzzfeed’s executive chairman, Kenneth Lerer, added: “The future of content companies is crystal clear: mobile, video, social and tech. Expanding BuzzFeed’s business across each of these areas is the key to the future. With distribution fully built out, content is the future and this expansion will allow us to create more and more content across the social web.”

Earlier this year, Buzzfeed announced plans to launch in Mumbai and Tokyo, with potential openings to follow in Singapore, the company’s international VP Scott Lamb has said in interviews with Mumbrella.


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