Digital Content NewFronts: Nine things we learned from the BuzzFeed NewFront

By Jason Maggs, Associate Director, Invention Studio, Mindshare NA

BuzzFeed helped kick off the first week of NewFronts with a feast for mouth and mind. Their food network offspring, Tasty, supplied the delicious street food while the BuzzFeed business and content heavy-hitters supplied the brain food.

And since it would feel wrong if we didn’t summarize the BuzzFeed session in a listicle, here are the nine things we learned from their NewFront event:

1) When it comes to reach, the numbers speak for themselves: the publisher has grown their business from 100 million views a month in 2010 to seven billion views a month in 2016. That’s about 230 million views every single day.

2) Test & learn is key to their virality: BuzzFeed is dedicated to a data-driven cycle of testing and learning.  As Greg Coleman, President of BuzzFeed put it, they don’t necessarily know what ideas will work, “but we know how to find out.”

3) Human connection at scale: Yes, their reach numbers are massive but Ze Frank, President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, also emphasized the importance of truly focusing on the individual while creating content.

4) BuzzFeed x NBCUniversal partnership: Last year, NBCU invested $200 million in BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed emphasized the opportunities inherent in that deal for brands; the combination of their production teams and audience networks has the potential to drive even more massive scale and content opportunities.

5) BuzzFeed has your TV dollars in sight: A live stream of two BuzzFeed staffers bursting a watermelon with rubber bands in April had a live concurrent audience of 800,000 on Facebook. As those kind of live numbers grow, it’s all part of BuzzFeed’s case for switching some of the TV budget to digital.

6) Original content series: BuzzFeed is expanding its digital video talent, presenting a whole slate of original programming with Broke, You do You 3, Try Guys, Try Kids, Tasty Kids, and Tasty Unbox.

7) The digital auteur: Those content creators will write, produce, direct, and act in their projects – even if it’s just a cameo. As Frank explained, if you run the project, you run it all the way through—that assures a level of authenticity in the product.

8) Tasty is a mouthwatering success story: Not even a year old, but according to BuzzFeed, Tasty is already the biggest food network in the world. The platform has amazed an incredible 360 million monthly users.

9) Do, don’t tell: Last but not least, BuzzFeed put their money where their mouth is by demonstrating their virality in real time. The team uploaded a Tasty video at 9am this morning and then revealed the results at the end of their NewFronts. The results: 8.3 million views and 75,000 shares.

The BuzzFeed NewFront was a reminder to the industry that publishers have the capability to understand their audiences on an intimate level. They’re using data to learn and predict what their users want to see – brands that are willing to embrace that process are poised to benefit the most from working with publishing partners like Buzzfeed.

Thanks for having us, Buzzfeed.