BuzzFeed Comes to the Center Stage with a Vertical Ad Format, Creator Network and Lots of New Programming

YouTube isn’t the only digital medium to take the lead this year. BuzzFeed moved its annual publicity pitch to the same period used by television networks, and the 15-year-old company used its presentation to promote a new network of creators, a new ad format and a host of new programming initiatives.

From an advertising perspective, the two most important products discussed during BuzzFeed’s initial spiel were Catalyst and Results. The former venture is a network that will be populated by BuzzFeed’s on-screen talent. Over the years, the media company has helped launch the careers of creators like The Try Guys, Safiya Nygaard and Michelle Khare, and with Catalyst, it will provide new opportunities for the talent it has under contract. At launch, Catalyst will have 100 members, who will receive support in areas such as branded content, editorial and affiliate marketing. The goal is to double this number by the end of the year.

Upshots, on the other hand, is an ad format designed for vertical videos. Buyers will be able to use Upshots on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

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Before moving to fronts, BuzzFeed was an occasional presenter at digitally-oriented NewFronts, but a lot has changed at the company since its last public pitch to advertisers. His acquisition of Complex Networks extended its range, and it now combines acquired channels with homegrown ones. the Eat Your Food Fest, announced during the BuzzFeed presentation, is one of those combos. It will be a culinary festival powered by the long term Tasty influential channels and complexes First we feast hub (which distributes the interview series The hottest). The dates for this event have not yet been announced.

2021 was also the year BuzzFeed completed its long-awaited move to the NASDAQ index. The editor has took some serious licks since becoming a publicly traded company, but founder and CEO Jonah Peretti is optimistic about the brand’s future.

“Just a few months after going public and acquiring Complex Networks, I’m excited to begin sharing the growing story of BuzzFeed, Inc. with the advertising community: advertising solutions for early vertical platforms like Reels and TikTok, two great food brands that combine utility and entertainment, world-class news divisions and unparalleled influence and scale,” Peretti said. “We are beginning to realize the benefits of the strategy we have decided to pursue the last year, and I’m excited to extend them to our advertising partners.”

Here, via a press release, is a full rundown of what BuzzFeed discussed at its initial event:

  • Creators: A new unified network of creators, Catalyst. Some of the greatest careers in media and culture have started at BuzzFeed and Complex Networks, and Catalyst will support and work with creators in all categories, including branded video, programmatic, affiliate marketing, editorial, etc. Catalyst will seek to double the size of BuzzFeed, Inc.’s network of creators — which now numbers more than 100 — this year.

  • Lighthouse: The expansion of Lighthouse, which provides first-party data to any client who works with BuzzFeed, Inc. With the acquisitions of Complex Networks and HuffPost, new and existing clients will now have insight into an even larger audience 150 million*: foodies, sneakerheads, young parents, luxury buyers, etc.

  • UpShots: A new lightweight advertising product called UpShots, designed and shot exclusively for vertical video platforms including TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, etc.

  • Tasty + First We Feast: The first “Eat Your Feed Festival”, an experiential live event hosted by two of the biggest food brands on the internet, now united under one roof: BuzzFeed’s Tasty and Complex Networks’s First We Feast. Details of the festival will be announced in the coming months.

  • HuffPost: The relaunch of HuffPost Voices, a section dedicated to historically marginalized groups that will feature Black, Asian, Female, Gay, and Latino writers under one banner.

  • BuzzFeed News: The first-ever awards event at BuzzFeed News, called 19 Under 20. The event, hosted by celebrity judges, will celebrate the brightest minds of Gen Z in sustainability, activism, innovation and business.

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