Despite a stage overloaded with emojis, BuzzFeed's NewFronts presentation was refreshingly simple and free of the bells and whistles buyers are likely to be inundated with over the next two weeks.
BuzzFeed's message to advertisers and buyers during its hour-long presentation was straightforward: Our content—about 600 produced pieces a day—gets a ton of views, and you should sponsor it.
BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti took shots at traditional media for its failure to truly understand what today's audiences want. Peretti claimed older media players haven't built out the data infrastructure BuzzFeed has that not only shows how many people are watching its videos but how audiences are engaging with them.
"You don't actually see when did they laugh, when did they cry," Peretti said.
Between last year's NewFronts presentation and today's, BuzzFeed's audience has grown from about 2.8 billion monthly views to more than 7 billion. Peretti called BuzzFeed "primarily a mobile company." About 75 percent of BuzzFeed's content is consumed outside its own platform, including 21 percent on Snapchat and 14 percent on YouTube. But the company gets its biggest boost from Facebook, which contributes more than 33 percent of BuzzFeed's views. That's even more than BuzzFeed's own platforms, which account for 23 percent of overall views.
Last month's watermelon explosion on Facebook Live drew more than 10 million views on a Friday afternoon. "It's the first time we've had a number that's comparable to TV," said Peretti of the video, which peaked at 800,000 concurrent viewers.
BuzzFeed's 8-month-old Tasty food network now averages 360 million users a month. Tasty's deliciously short recipe videos autoplay in millions of Facebook feeds giving them a heaping helping of views.
"We didn't intend to be the largest food publisher in the world," said Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. Frank said the company's "little experiment" began when Facebook started allowing autoplay for in-feed videos.
A new Tasty video posted this morning at 9 a.m. has already gotten more than 10 million views on Facebook (and just over 20,000 on YouTube).
Tasty, which Frank described as becoming "its own BuzzFeed," also played a role at the NewFronts presentation at New York's Moynihan Station. Buyers and other attendees noshed on Tasty creations at a half-dozen food stations. The goal was to show brands how they could either sponsor or be integrated into BuzzFeed content.
Though the presentation was light on actual announcements, BuzzFeed's CMO Frank Cooper briefly discussed the partnership with NBCUniversal, which invested $ 200 million in BuzzFeed last summer. BuzzFeed will start using NBCU's content studio, which is specifically designed to create branded content for other platforms. BuzzFeed said three of its top 15 videos on YouTube are branded content.
During its NewFronts presentation last year, BuzzFeed opted not to trot out talent. But this year, Frank introduced two of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures' creators: Quinta Brunson and Ashley Perez. Brunson is developing a 12-episode sitcom based on her "Broke" videos, which have already amassed 27 million views across Facebook and YouTube. Perez is working on a new season of "You Do You," a comedic soap opera, which debuted at No. 1 in the iTunes TV store last fall. The Try Guys, who will try just about anything, are launching a kids version of their web videos called Try Kids.