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Buzzfeed splits news and entertainment

News, 25 August 2016
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NEW YORK: Buzzfeed, the online news and entertainment provider, is repositioning itself to become a cross-platform media company by separating its operations into two distinct parts.

In a move aimed squarely at beefing up its digital video capabilities, the company will create a new department, called BuzzFeed Entertainment, which will be responsible for its short- and long-form video, quizzes, lists and all its entertainment content.

Meanwhile, Buzzfeed's global news operations, video news and health content will be consolidated as Buzzfeed News under Ben Smith, the company's editor-in-chief.

According to Vanity Fair, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti sent round a company-wide memo, stating that "Having a single 'video department' in 2016 makes about as much sense as having a 'mobile department'".

"Instead of organizing around a format or technology, we will organize our work to take full advantage of many formats and technologies," he continued.

"This structure will allow us to be better at entertainment and better at news," he added. "It will also complete our shift to becoming a cross-platform media company, with entertainment and news both living on our site, our apps, and distributed to platforms across the web in multiple native formats".

When later approached by Vanity Fair, Peretti acknowledged that the change might be unsettling for Buzzfeed's reporters, but he stressed it also presents an opportunity."Having more video-news capacity means that our reporters can write it up and also push that to our video team so they can reach an even bigger audience," he said.

He also likened the push into both entertainment and news to Ted Turner's decision to split CNN and TBS.

"Back in the day, all the big incumbents would criticize CNN and TBS and make fun of them, saying they were never going to make it and that they weren't legitimate," he said.

"They really just had a better model and stuck to it. Ted Turner didn't care what anyone thought, and he built a news and entertainment empire side by side."

Data sourced from Vanity Fair; additional content by Warc staff

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