10 Things to Remember from BuzzFeed’s Newfront

/ Apr 28, 2014

BuzzFeed is number one for views across social video platforms in may

Want a good recap of what BuzzFeed talked about during its first-ever Newfront presentation in New York? Check out our piece from last week, for which Liz Shannon Miller spoke with BuzzFeed’s Ze Frank and Jonathan Perelman, as well as Nestle Purina’s Rick Spiekermann — all of whom spoke during today’s presentation.

The main purpose of the event? Unlike other upfronts and Newfronts, which focus on what Frank refers to as “consumable video,” BuzzFeed is super-focused on shareable video content, and the science (art?) behind it.

Here are some of the more interesting or thoughtful things out of the presenters during the presentation:

1. BuzzFeed has generated more than 1.08 billion video views since September 2012; that’s the rough equivalent of 3,110 years. “Video has been the biggest shift in our business,” said BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti. “We didn’t even have a video business a year and a half ago, so this is coming out of nowhere.”

2. YouTube stats: 4.5+ million subscribers; 75+ million monthly views; 300+ videos with 1 million views each; 50% of views coming from mobile devices.

3. Shareable stats: BuzzFeed.com accounts for only 15% of views; and only 20% of total views come from YouTube subscribers — indicating exactly what kind of life BuzzFeed video content has beyond its owned and branded destinations.

4. Peretti was behind The Rejection Line and BlackPeopleLoveUs.com, two very viral sites/services from the early 2000s.

5. Peretti doesn’t care for your “dogs on skateboards” jokes about YouTube: “What we found, people really misunderstand the value of animals,” he said. “Animals are cute, but are also a way for humans to connect with each other… When you laugh with your friends, you feel closer to them. In the early days of BuzzFeed, this was an important thing — it continues to be — but we’ve expanded on it since then.”

6. BuzzFeed, which has raised close to $50 million to date, is profitable.

7. Frank on shareable video: “There is a usage of media where it’s a proxy for conversation: You use it as a social good to connect with others.” For a deeper look at why people share, refer back to our earlier piece.

8. Frank: “We killed what I think is necessary to kill in an experimental [venture].” As Frank explained it, producers and staffers at BuzzFeed video don’t “pitch-up” for a green-light or a series. If the video works, then they try it again; if it works again, then they do it again; if that also works, then the division will look to build a series or format with it.

9. BuzzFeed and Nestle Purina are still going strong. Instead of giving BuzzFeed Video access to its Beggin’ Strips brand (which would have been too easy, according to Nestle Purina’s Spiekermann), Nestle Purina gave them the Tidy Cats brand. The success of that video ultimately led to BuzzFeed video creating content for the Beggin’ Strips brand. Going forward, the two are set to release four more branded videos, each of which will test a format.

10. What’s success for BuzzFeed? They won’t tell you. “Ultimately we want to create shareable video content, and we want to do that with brands,” said Perelman. “But success metrics will vary from brand to brand, so it’s not as simple as saying here’s what it is. It’s really a collaborative process.”

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