BuzzFeed launches creative unit after US$50mln funding

BuzzFeed has announced a major expansion plan after it completed its Series E financing of US$50 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

BuzzFeed’s branded offerings for advertisers will now be centralised into one group, BuzzFeed Creative, creating a streamlined process across video and publishing for brands. This new unit will have a team of 60 creatives, led by Melissa Rosenthal, and 15 branded video producers, led by Matt Baxter in LA. It will continue to expand under Greg Coleman as the company rolls out new ad products.

The company will also launch a new distributed division to create content off BuzzFeed to scale BuzzFeed’s understanding of the social web. Meanwhile, BuzzFeed International will continue its rapid growth and expand to India, Germany, Mexico and Japan this year.

“Over the last decade, traditional media has been upended by technology, a disruption of the print, video, news, entertainment and advertising industries that is now accelerating at lightning speed. We created BuzzFeed because people still want to be informed, entertained, and inspired but the way they consume media has dramatically shifted,” said Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed in a press statement.

He added that the “time is perfect to grow the company, build the brand and greatly increase the content” so as to "be the number one digital media brand."

Kenneth Lerer, a co-founder of the company, will assume the role of executive chairman and advisor and work closely with Jonah Peretti on company strategy. Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz will join the BuzzFeed board of directors.

“We’re in the midst of a historic shift in the media industry where news is increasingly being distributed on social networks and consumed on mobile devices — we believe BuzzFeed can emerge from this shift as a preeminent media company. As an early investor in BuzzFeed, I’ve seen first-hand how technology is at the core of the BuzzFeed business and culture and permeates every organisational function, allowing them to lead in this social and mobile dominant age,” Dixon added.

Following the re-organisation, BuzzFeed’s editorial team will grow and become BuzzFeed News, Buzz, and Life to expand its offerings across the board and to make clear the differences between the three types of content. BuzzFeed’s video division will expand and become BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and will, in addition to its existing short form, focus on all moving images from a GIF to feature film and everything in between.