BuzzFeed is Your Non-judgmental Older Sister

In November, BuzzFeed unveiled its BuzzFeed media brands division which is made up of Tasty(food), Nifty (DIY), Bring Me (travel) and Goodful (wellness). This week they have added another millennial focused sub-brand to their roster, As/Is.

As/Is is a positioned to be a non-judgy beauty and style publisher, featuring “content that empowers women rather than tells them who they should be.” 

The timing around the launch couldn’t be any better amid the spotlight of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

“We want to change what the industry looks like and looks at,” says Augusta Falletta, supervising producer for As/Is. “We want people to see themselves in this content and accept themselves in a way that hasn’t been done in the past. If you are a woman who grew up reading antiquated magazines you probably have some thing you need to unpack.”


Why it’s too hot to hold, too much to handle:

BuzzFeed’s ultimate goal is to compete with Facebook and Google for ad dollars. Currently, their biggest revenue driver is the Tasty sub-brand which has attracted over 1.4 million unique visitors in January alone. Tasty has evolved from short videos to products now available at Walmart. BuzzFeed is hoping that in the future, As/Is will lead to a line of beauty products.

New: Facebook “Instant Articles”

Facebook came one step closer on Wednesday to changing the way we read the news. The new “Instant Articles” initiative launched this week lets publishers post stories and video directly to News Feed — further defeating the need for real “homepage” experiences. The articles will exist within Facebook’s walls, similar to an uploaded status. Instant Articles will let shared stories load more than 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles and will include content from 9 select publishers such as the New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic, using what the platform says are its interactive tools that will bring stories “to life in new ways.”

Readers of the “Instant Articles” can zoom in and tilt photos. And video will play automatically as readers scroll. Publishers will also have access to Facebook software for interactive maps and audio captions, while allowing for trackable data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.


Why it’s hot:

The move underscores an imminent change in the present situation, in which Facebook users have to wait for a link posted on the publishers’ original site and shared on Facebook. The change, Facebook claims, will make article access ten-fold faster for Facebook users.

Facebook is the most dominant social media referral engine, boosting publishers’ traffic to individual stories while lessening the importance of their own branded front pages. (A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 30% of people in the U.S. already get their news primarily from Facebook.) The new agreement represents the publishers’ willingness to further deepen their ties in pursuit of more revenue worldwide.


Time Inc. Tries to Join Millennial Culture with The Snug

Time Inc. is re-imagining the way we curate and deliver content for this highly coveted audience” of millennials, says Evelyn Webster, exec VP of Time Inc.

content + digital + DIY = a hopeful recipe for success for engaging millennials

Many say 2015 is the year of content marketing, and at a time when the media industry is undergoing such a transformation in the way content is distributed, Time Inc. realized it was time to make a change. It’s time to focus on digital.

As part of Time Inc.’s new strategy to publish digital-only sites that aggregate content from across the web, The Snug is a new website that pulls in DIY content from a variety of sources, in an effort to resonate with millennials.

The Snug.

Per Ad Age, here is how it works:

Snug staff repackage articles from other Time Inc. titles to better appeal to young readers. There is, for example, a post on The Snug that includes several pictures of Lauren Conrad‘s home. The Snug headline is “go inside lauren conrad’s apartment (without getting arrested)” — all lower case. The pictures are from an InStyle slideshow that carried the headline “Inside Lauren Conrad’s Beverly Hills Penthouse.”

Why It’s Hot | This new effort by Time Inc. is a great example of understanding the target, and ensuring that we are not requiring a change in behavior in order to access our product. Millennials are always on, super connected to social, and highly mobile. Additionally, they are avid app-users, downloading dozens of apps that pull together feeds from all over the Internet into a one-stop-shop. It makes sense that Time Inc. would essentially create the same thing for audiences, from their own content. Regarding the content being pulled in, as we tell so many of our clients, solutions don’t always have to be entirely new platforms and content. Sometimes we can use pre-existing assets, but share them in a way that is more convenient and enticing for new audiences. Overall, this seems to be a smart move by Time Inc. – even if it is a bit of a late arrival to the game.

Endgame – Blending Print, Film, Gaming, and a Global Treasure Hunt


(image The Verge)

Author James Frey released his latest novel, Endgame, on October 7th. It holds an elaborate code, directing readers towards a key hidden somewhere in the real world. That key will open a case containing a half million dollars in gold. This is the premise of Endgame, which is not so much a book as a grand attempt at a story that will span across every piece of conceivable media. The author has teamed up with some of the largest names in media (Google, Fox, Harper Collins) to tell a multi-platform story that incorporates books, movies, social media, TV, mobile, online video, search, image results and online virtual worlds.

In the words of Author James Frey: “It was conceived as a project that would exist across multiple platforms, and that the story would be told in books, novellas, games, film, and TV. [We also knew it] would have a social media presence, and exist in places – such as search results and mapping coordinates and YouTube – that aren’t traditionally mediums for storytelling and writing.”

via Publishers Weekly

Why It’s Hot

As the worlds of media continue to collide and people’s expectations evolve to become channel agnostic, stories no longer have to remain silo’d to specific types of media. Stories can now be merged across a tapestry of interwoven pieces of media and technology. Each of which can tell pieces of the story which are unique to that medium but are only parts that make up a complete, multi-faceted story experience. Being everywhere all the time used to be an impossible task to accomplish, but these days technology is capable of doing it and in this case, inviting people to be apart of the much larger picture.

New York Times’ Brutally Honest “Internal Innovation” Self-Assessment, Leaked

According to Joshua Benton at Nieman Lab, the leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age. This full report that took 6 full months for the newsroom innovation team to write is…RAW.

The report is a thorough, honest and revealing self-examination of the culture at NYT and barriers to more effectively expanding reach and engaging readers by embracing digital channels. There are dozens of cases of the NYT criticizing its own progress in specific areas and then citing major competitors as best-in-class, making themselves extremely vulnerable, and making for a very interesting read!

It’s an astonishing look inside the cultural change that is still needed in the shift to digital, even in one of the world’s greatest newsrooms. Read it!

NYT story_5.22

As bad as this report makes parts of the Times’ culture seem, there are two significant reasons for optimism:

First, so much of the digital work of The New York Times is so damned good, despite all the roadblocks detailed here. Take those barriers away and just think what they could do!

Second, the project lead is the publisher’s son and heir-apparent. His involvement in shows that he understands the issues facing the institution, which speaks well for the Times’ future.

Why it’s Hot:

The extensive list of areas to be tackled, and the ideas and examples as to how to do this effectively, make for an incredible “how to” that would help any “publisher” (professional, amateur, side-job…e.g., CPG marketers who publish recipes) to more fully capitalize on their content, leveraging digital platforms to connect with prospects. Again, READ IT!