BuzzFeed Reorganizes Into News and Entertainment Divisions

Jonah Peretti - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Jonah Peretti - Getty - H 2016

BuzzFeed Entertainment will be led by Ze Frank and BuzzFeed News will be led by Ben Smith.

BuzzFeed is reorganizing into two departments that will split its entertainment and news divisions.

The changes mean that BuzzFeed will no longer be organized by media (i.e. editorial or video) and will instead be organized by content vertical. A newly created BuzzFeed Entertainment Group division, led by BuzzFeed Motion Pictures president Ze Frank, will encompass the video department, lists, quizzes and micro-content. BuzzFeed News, which will continue to be led by editor-in-chief Ben Smith, will now include global news, health and video news. 

A memo from BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti that BuzzFeed provided Tuesday to The Hollywood Reporter explains that the reorganization means "video won't be the job of just one department. Having a single 'video department' in 2016 makes about as much sense as having a 'mobile department.'" 

He continues that video will become "embedded" into all BuzzFeed initiatives. "A digital video becomes ubiquitous, every major initiative at BuzzFeed around the world will find an expression as video, just like everything we do works on mobile and social platforms," he wrote.

The reorganization comes after a January consolidation of the Buzz and Life sections into a new group called BuzzFeed and a combining of social, app and homepage teams into a News Curation group. 

A few months later the Financial Times reported that BuzzFeed's 2015 revenue was $80 million less than expected and that the company had cut its 2016 revenue projections in half. BuzzFeed, which last year raised $200 million in funding from NBCUniversal, denied the reports, with Peretti later telling THR that "the only revenue number we set for this year we've been beating." 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, which first reported on the reorgPeretti characterized the changes as aiding BuzzFeed's positioning in the digital landscape, comparing the company's separate news and entertainment divisions to Turner's ownership of both CNN and TBS. "Ted Turner didn't care what anyone thought, and he built a news and entertainment empire side by side," he said in the interview.