BuzzFeed may be synonymous with shareable short-form content like listicles and quizzes, but the wildly popular entertainment website is looking to go bigger and deeper. The company announced Monday that it has raised $50 million to expand its original content to include mid-length and long-form pieces.
In the announcement, the site said its video production team would now be known as BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and that the company aims to move beyond viral lists and quizzes -- like last week’s “What Type of Shark Are You?” which as of this writing has been viewed over 400,000 times -- to produce more original content and long-form reporting.
BuzzFeed said it wants to more clearly separate its news division from two other main arms: Buzz, which focuses on shareable content, and its life and culture section.
“As we grow, how can we maintain a culture that can still be entrepreneurial?” BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti told the New York Times. “What if a Hollywood studio or a news organization was run like a startup?”
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is providing the cash for BuzzFeed’s fifth round of funding, by far its largest yet. The site previously raised only $46.3 million combined in its first four rounds.
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“As an early investor in BuzzFeed, I’ve seen firsthand how technology is at the core of the BuzzFeed business and culture and permeates every organizational function, allowing them to lead in this social- and mobile-dominant age,” Chris Dixon, the Andreessen Horowitz general partner who led the investment, said in a press release.
BuzzFeed said it was also looking to expand its presence worldwide, as well as “build or acquire” new companies that would mesh well with its existing businesses. The site’s foreign news desk’s staff – which was not mentioned – would double in size in the coming months, it said.
While BuzzFeed says it will double its number of foreign correspondents, it will also “triple” the number of writers for “BuzzFeed Life,” the site’s collection of food and fashion do-it-yourself, or DIY, how-to guides. The site said it would open a test kitchen and “food lab” in Manhattan.
The site is also bringing in Jordan Peele, one half of the comedy duo “Key & Peele,” as well as film producer Michael Shamberg to help with its video efforts. In order to remain successful on social media, BuzzFeed said it will also begin producing original content solely for networks like Snapchat and Tumblr.