News Corp has used to the Digital Newfronts in New York to launch a “buzzworthy” viral video challenger to sites like Buzzfeed.
Internet Action Force was one of a half dozen stands at a low key News Corp Newfront event on Friday, which saw a six minute video presentation from CEO Robert Thompson with US media buyers then encouraged to visit a number of stands for brands like the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.
“Video and digital are now integral to achieving that mission, whether it is across the globe or around the corner our original video tells stories that matter,” Thomson said in his video presentation.
News Corp used the event to launch a number of smaller digital project such as the Dow Jones’ new luxury real estate portal Mansion Global and Internet Action Force, which was described as “a video website with video featuring original topical shorts about pop culture, nerd news, and whatever’s trending on social media.”
One of the more popular IAF videos on its Youtube site
The IAF stand at News Corp’s newfronts presentation
The site is only a month or so old with most of the content so far drawing views in the low hundreds.
New York Post publisher Jesse Angelo told Quartz Magazine: “It has some similarities in that it’s targeted at that [younger] generation, but it’s not just native like BuzzFeed is.
“The vision is, could you make rapid-response, funny, topical video about what’s trending on social, that is designed to travel on social, and mostly be consumed on phones? It’s really about making people laugh.”
Despite Angelo telling Quartz that IAF would not be native the media kit makes clear that the new digital venture will have “native video opportunities,” along with preroll and display advertising.
It also notes that among the original and curated content the site will have “fun buzzworthy videos, many licensed exclusively”.
Media Kit for IAF from News Corp newfront
News Corp has previously been a major critic of video content site Buzzfeed with Robert Thomson last year calling it a “strange”, “garish” place filled with “rubbish.”
“Advertisers will ask themselves, ‘Do I really want to be seen next to that story? It’s pretty garish’,” said Thomson in December 2014. “You go on to BuzzFeed and you’re in a strange place. It’s a really strange place.”
The media kit also notes that “our content will engage users, evoke position emotions and embrace digital mobile culture.”
Viral content site Buzzfeed has become known for its lighthearted emotion evoking content with the site’s founder Jonah Peretti previously saying: “When you see cute animals, you both laugh and think they’re cute,… When you share that with a friend, you share that emotion with your friend, and that results in a connection. The emotion in the content really matters more than the information in the content.”
Buzzfeed also presented at last week’s Newfronts in New York with the company pitching its branded content and understanding of social media as a key reason brands should work with it.
Nic Christensen in New York