- BuzzFeed in going through a big restructuring, especially for its entertainment content.
- CEO Jonah Peretti says BuzzFeed will experiment less with mid-form content that feels “stuck in the middle.”
- Former HP CEO Meg Whitman just signed on to be the CEO of a company looking to go into mid-form video.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti is over mid-length video.
In the wake of a reported revenue miss and layoffs last year, BuzzFeed has been doing some high-level company restructuring. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that Ze Frank, who had previously been in charge of most of BuzzFeed’s non-news content (under BuzzFeed Entertainment Group), would now be leading a team of 12 that “experiments with new video formats and emerging platforms.”
Frank’s drastically modified role comes as BuzzFeed seems to be rethinking its broader video strategy.
And in the midst of the announcement, Peretti gave an insightful comment about how BuzzFeed is looking at the future of video.
Here’s how THR described Peretti’s comments:
He told THR that BuzzFeed will experiment less with mid-form content that feels “stuck in the middle” of traditional-length projects and true, shortform social videos.
Mid-form video has long been a source of debate in the entertainment and tech worlds, with projects like Verizon’s Go90 failing to capture the public’s attention despite hundreds of millions of dollars invested.
Peretti’s bearish stance on mid-form video is likely informed by Facebook’s recent move to demote publishers in the news feed, which BuzzFeed has been vocally against. If Facebook isn’t going to preference mid-form video in your feed, it’s no wonder BuzzFeed would lean more into either short-form video, which is less labour intensive, or long-form, which could be licensed to traditional TV or digital outlets like Netflix.
If you’re stuck in the middle, video is hard to monetise.
But others in entertainment haven’t given up on mid-form quite yet. In fact, just today DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new startup, NewTV, announced that it had snagged former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman to be its CEO (and essentially first hire).
For example, imagine a drama akin to “Grey’s Anatomy” but shrunk to 10-minute episodes made for mobile consumption. Or a five-minute talk show, or a two-minute newscast – all with high-profile talent attached.
That sounds a lot like mid-form!
Katzenberg has previously said these shows would be designed for smartphones, whose ubiquity is a big reason Katzenberg thinks there’s a market for this type of show in the first place.
“We have these devices with us the entire day and an incredible amount of in-between time,” he said last year.
And Katzenberg is betting big, having previously said he was looking for $US2 billion to fund it.
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