BuzzFeed has raised $50 million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and announced expansion plans that will directly affect its growing video division.
Earlier this year Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO, said video represented “the biggest shift” in the digital media company’s business as his team continued to court sponsors for short-form videos. Now, that video division is called “BuzzFeed Motion Pictures” and its production team will also develop mid-form, serialized content. Headed by Frank Ze (pictured at Stream Market) as president, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures will also launch a “Future of Fiction” team to explore long-form, television and transmedia ideas.
Hollywood producer Michael Shamberg and actor/comedian Jordan Peele will join BuzzFeed Motion Pictures as advisors.
But it’s not just long-from video content that will be bolstered as part of the restructuring: the company is also tasking some of its social media-savvy staff with creating original content for platforms like Vine, Tumblr, Instagram, and Snapchat. The 20-person distribution unit called “BuzzFeed, off BuzzFeed” will be led by Summer Anne Burton.
All branded content (which includes sponsored listicles, articles and videos) will be developed within a new division called “BuzzFeed Creative.” The team includes 60 creatives, led by Melissa Rosenthal, and 15 branded video producers, led by Matt Baxter in Los Angeles, according to a statement Monday.
BuzzFeed will expand into new international markets this year, including India, Germany, Mexico and Japan.
Andreessen Horowitz’ general partner, Chris Dixon, will join BuzzFeed’s board of directors as part of the series E financing.
“The most interesting tech companies aren’t trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom,” said Dixon, in a blog post about the investment.