NBC Jumps On The BuzzFeed Bandwagon With $200 Million Investment

Buzz Feed

Tech Report

By: Nick Gambino

The all-powerful conglomerate, NBCUniversal is looking to extend its power to the internet with a $200 million equity investment in BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed, known as the king of lists, funny videos and Facebook quizzes by internet surveyors, has quickly grown to be one of the most popular sites for social and entertainment news. With this investment it’s easily just the next step in BuzzFeed’s plan for world (at least internet world) domination.

This is clearly a way for NBCUniversal to plug into the internet news cycle without having to reinvent the wheel themselves. While TV news is still relevant, sort of, the internet is becoming more and more the place to go for just about everything, including news.

It seems this investment will result in both NBCUniversal and BuzzFeed going “cross-platform” with their content. Expect to see BuzzFeed content or segments showing up on different news shows like the Today Show. This easily benefits both sides and results in exposure for both.

NBCUniversal is on an investment role and seems to have some big coin to thrown around. Just a week earlier they invested a separate $200 million in Vox Media, also a digital/internet company. Hmmm…what are these guys up to? First they dominate TV, then they dominate movies (Universal Pictures is the top film studio this year already having crossed $3 billion) and now they want to own the internet? What’s next? Are they going to open a theme park right next to Disney World?

In all seriousness, objectively this was a smart move. BuzzFeed’s core audience is made up of 18 to 34 year olds. This is that sweet spot that companies yearn for. Partnering up with BuzzFeed or at least sitting on the same bus with them, all but guarantees a seat at the table with the “kids.”

While that’s a good reason to partner with BuzzFeed, what’s in it for BuzzFeed beyond just added exposure?

Founder and current CEO of BuzzFeed Jonah Peretti explained this, as well as another recent deal with Yahoo Japan, “All these deals were structured to assure BuzzFeed’s continued editorial and creative independence. Equally important, the investment from NBCU and our rapidly growing revenue assures our financial independence, allowing us to grow and invest without pressure to chase short-term revenue or rush an IPO.”

This deal sounds great but if I start seeing Ice-T read off BuzzFeed listicles in the middle of a Law and Order: SVU episode, I’m out.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

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