Nine things you need to know about BuzzFeed Video

Matthew Bailey/ Ovum
07 Mar 2016

BuzzFeed’s new mobile video app, BuzzFeed Video, is testament to the growing importance of video to the digital operations of all media companies. Even if it appears to go against BuzzFeed’s recent focus on distributed content, BuzzFeed Video fits into the company’s wider strategy of increasing the amount of time viewers spend with BuzzFeed video content; collecting strategically relevant data on viewing habits; and centralizing content on a dedicated platform. In typical BuzzFeed fashion, I have broken my thoughts on BuzzFeed Video down into nine main talking points.

Here are nine things you need to know about BuzzFeed Video

1. It offers BuzzFeed a platform-agnostic distribution channel

The app uses its own video player, so each video plays in its native format regardless of the platform it was originally intended for (i.e. videos made for Instagram have a square aspect ratio, while Snapchat content occupies the whole screen). This means that BuzzFeed can continue to focus on its distributed content strategy, while still having a central hub for its video content. The technology in the app could also be used to streamline the company’s video operations in the future.

2. It allows BuzzFeed to collect a greater amount of data on its users’ activities

A unified, owned platform and automatically enabled Quantcast tracking give BuzzFeed more control over metrics, allowing it to collect meaningful data that compares consumer interaction across content types, regardless of platform. This will enable BuzzFeed to bolster its pitch to advertisers and also inform other areas of its distributed content strategy.

3. It showcases each of BuzzFeed’s video brands in one single place

The app prompts users to associate certain “shows” with BuzzFeed. This increases brand recognition for BuzzFeed, allowing for the cross-pollination of shows’ audiences – something that is less likely when content is distributed across different social platforms. BuzzFeed will hope that the most engaged users will discover content in the app before sharing it to other platforms through the app’s integrated sharing feature.

4. Autoplay, silent play, and immersive mode make for a simple, engaging experience

Autoplay gives the app a simple, Facebook-like feel in terms of how videos are surfaced to the user, automatically engaging users and encouraging “binge watching.” Users scroll through videos which, by default, automatically play in silent mode. However, unlike on Facebook, once a user has opted to turn sound on, subsequent videos in the feed will also play with sound. Additionally, once a user stops scrolling on a particular video, the rest of the feed is dimmed to create an immersive viewing environment for that video. With these features, BuzzFeed is looking to offer a more streamlined viewing experience on its app than those found on other major mobile video platforms.

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