It’s Video Or Bust For BuzzFeed And Bloomberg

Newfronts1On the opening day of advertiser NewFronts, BuzzFeed and Bloomberg Media were clear about their intentions: They’re pursuing video. Aggressively.

At its Monday event in New York, BuzzFeed said it will release by the year’s end a proprietary tool called Pound, designed to show advertisers how BuzzFeed stories and video content travel across the web. It’s designed to show, for instance, how well a BuzzFeed video performed on YouTube vs. Facebook.

Not only does Pound underscore the importance of video for BuzzFeed, it also shows growth across a variety of mobile apps and social media sites. Each month, the publisher sees 349 million click-throughs from Facebook, 60 million from Pinterest and 12.5 million from Twitter.

BuzzFeed has more than 200 million unique visitors a month and its video business sees north of 1 billion video views per month across platforms. Just two years ago, it was only 17 million per month.

“Scale and impact are things we think a lot about and we now reach more than 50% of 18-34 year olds per month,” said Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, during its NewFront presentation Monday in New York. “We have a great partnership with YouTube, but now syndicate our videos to more than 20 different platforms. Video is really our path forward in distributed media.”

BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen called BuzzFeed’s data set “massive,” adding that each related distribution platform has its own unique perk. For instance, YouTube tends to perform better for informational content (BuzzFeed’s “What Does 2,000 Calories Look Like” video is an example), while Facebook outperforms for video content that resonates with identity, friends and community. 

“The end goal is for us to have real-world brand impact,” said BuzzFeed CRO Lee Brown. “We focus on what we can measure as a proxy for that impact, which is sharing and brand lift. We find people who share BuzzFeed content spend 68% more time than people who don’t and we’re doubling the size of our research team to understand more of this data.”

Similarly, at Bloomberg Media’s first annual NewFront presentation later that day, the publisher’s global CRO Paul Caine talked up the company’s launch of B: Intent, a buying tool for brands to tap “into the mindsets if your customers in addition to demography.”

Like BuzzFeed, Bloomberg claims it is best positioned to help advertisers tap into its “premium, elite and elusive audience.”

Bloomberg hosts more than 83 million digital video streams per month on its platform and Caine said that volume is growing, thanks to new publisher partners like The Street, The Week UK, San Francisco Chronicle, Kiplinger, The Hill, Boston Herald, Gannett and USA Today.

Bloomberg also rolled out a number of video experiences Monday, including Responsive.TV, a video content and ads offering. Think of it as Tinder for digital video, where users can flick away the content that doesn’t interest them. It also launched Bloomberg Premiere, a full-page video takeover unit on Bloomberg’s home page.

Responsive.TV is a way for brands to create deep video integrations, which would be weighted equally against its editorial video content in-stream or augmented in traditional ad breaks, said Caine.

Mike Bloomberg, chairman of Bloomberg LP and the former New York mayor, closed out Bloomberg’s NewFront when he fielded a question about maintaining church and state between Bloomberg’s news organization and its sponsored content developments, an issue BuzzFeed is facing following reports it deleted posts due to advertiser pressure.

“I think people can get carried away with technology and the method of distribution du jour that they forget they’re providing a [news] service,” he said. That said, for brand partners, “we have to make sure that distinction does not take away from people’s interest in looking at the advertisement.”

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