What happens when new media stops being new?
When he founded BuzzFeed in 2006, serial entrepreneur Jonah Peretti—who’d previously cofounded the Huffington Post—thought of it as a new-media mad-science lab. Social sharing was the next big distribution channel, he reasoned, and BuzzFeed was a place to create silly shareable content. The site is still brimming with listicles and cat videos, but over the past year, BuzzFeed has undergone a remarkable transformation: It’s now also a serious news site, blending in a high-powered team of journalists covering politics, gender issues, technology, music, food, and pop culture.
Peretti sat down to discuss BuzzFeed’s breakout year.
FC: You don’t run traditional banner ads. Instead you run “sponsored content”—posts that feel like BuzzFeed content but that are paid for by a brand. Why?
JP: I wanted our ads to have the same advantages as our content—something that people wanted to click on and share. We think of it as the evolution of advertorial. It’s a return to Mad Men-era advertising, where media buying and creative were the same business, and where you thought about advertising as telling a story. On the web, that changed; banner ads became the dominant force. There wasn’t the sense of craft in it.
Check out the full story here.
Why did the meme factory hire the serious political reporter? They saw eye-to-eye on one important thing: the social network optimization of the news.