BuzzFeed Splits News and Entertainment Divisions


photoIn a move that could impact cable news channels, BuzzFeed has announced plans to split the company into two units, one focusing on entertainment content and the other focusing on news content.

As digital video becomes more ubiquitous across desktop, social and mobile platforms, BuzzFeed’s move is designed to generate more revenue – and a greater audience – from video production. BuzzFeed joins other large media companies that have recently spun off entertainment divisions from news, including 21st Century Fox and the Tribune Company. BuzzFeed, however, is different.

As a digital-first company with a large following among a younger generation of readers (and now viewers), they could become a disruptive force for cable news and other traditional news outlets. With more people looking for news online and across a growing variety of social media platforms, BuzzFeed’s digital ubiquity could mean their bet on the growth of video is well positioned.

The new entertainment division, BuzzFeed Entertainment Group, will manage all entertainment content teams. Ze Frank, named President of BuzzFeed Entertainment Group, told employees in a memo that the new structure reflects the company’s goal of “becoming a cross-platform media company, with entertainment and news both living on our site, our apps, and distributed on platforms across the web in multiple native formats.”

So what does this mean for newsmakers or, for that matter, people looking for “17 Photos of Smiling Dogs That Will Brighten Your Day?” Video matters. As we noted previously, video’s influence is growing in news and entertainment departments and media companies are structuring accordingly.

BuzzFeed is likely the leading edge of this trend. So regardless of if you want your content included in today’s viral listicle or considering more serious promotion of your ideas, if you’re not thinking in terms of video, you’re potentially ceding ground or missing an opportunity to reach people the way they want to be reached. That doesn’t mean that organizations or corporations should install a studio in their office buildings and hire an anchor to deliver a broadcast – but it does mean those looking to make news should make it easy for reporters (and their own communications teams) to promote their ideas and content across platforms that include video.