Buzzfeed’s relationship with Facebook can be summed up as symbiotic. Facebook’s billions of users make Buzzfeed’s stories go viral. In turn, the media juggernaut has started producing content only for Facebook and launched brands like Tasty and Top Knot that specialize in it.
“One piece of this is because Facebook is so global and Buzzfeed is so global, we’re finding that there’s opportunities to make visual content that appeals to global audience,” said Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti onstage at Ignition 2015. “That’s food, fashion, DIY, design are really promising places.”
To keep the relationship from going parasitic, Buzzfeed has to trust Facebook will one day find a way where publishers can make money off producing all this content designed for the social network. Right now, Facebook doesn’t let media companies monetise the platform or generate any revenue to recoup the costs of producing the content.
Peretti isn’t worried about it, and has faith it will figure out a way to pay. Compared to other platforms, Facebook has its own “special power” of continuing to work towards a solution rather than skirts away from it, he says.
“A year ago, it didn’t have a video property at all. Now they are million of views for us and many other advertisers ,” Peretti said. “Facebook’s super power is continually improving and getting better over time.”
Peretti acknowledges that putting blind faith in another network sometimes doesn’t work out.
“I think it happens when the strategy of a platform doesn’t match the strategy of the publisher,” Peretti said.
The goals have to align: If a social network wants only personal updates, but publishers want another news outlet, there may be little incentive for that company to work towards satisfying the publisher, he argued.
But that’s not the case for Facebook.
“In Facebook’s case, the new newsfeed is becoming such a dominant way to consume news, information, text, photos, 3D videos we’ve made,” Peretti said.
Facebook knows it needs this content created by Buzzfeed and others, and it will work to find a way to make it a sustainable business for both, Peretti said.