Buzzfeed, as most people know, is a major digital news company. Even at a time where most news companies are cutting back on staff to keep a float, Buzzfeed continues to hire and grow. Founded in 2006, Buzzfeed was born in economic decline for journalism but continues to prosper today. The question is, how do they do it?
Normal news outlets sell ad space in their newspapers and websites (much to readers’ annoyance) or sell subscriptions to their paper. This method has become increasing less affective for revenue, killing news companies and forcing them to search to find new ways to make an income. Buzzfeed has found an interesting new way to keep on top.
While appealing to a younger audience, Buzzfeed creates sponsored content or “native advertising” as it’s being called. Companies pay Buzzfeed to create content advertising their products and disguising them as real articles. This method has become the new banner ad and is much more profitable.
November 11 2016 Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/fordcanada/facts-about-cars-that-make-you-glad-you-live-in-2016?utm_term=.mkqY1G8EOW#.orZ718XWOl
The only problem with this method is not everyone can tell it’s a paid advertisement. While Buzzfeed is one of the better ones for marking their articles but in mobile versions it can be easily missed. Sure, there mostly fluffy ‘top 10 most ridiculous things’ articles but other people adopting this method are not doing that. They’re creating actual news stories that have to be okayed by the company paying for it. With this type of advertisement becoming more popular in news organizations its going to harder for readers to know what is news and what is advertisement.
Post about woman inmate in the New York Times that was paid by Netflix’s Orange is the New Black hit show. November 11 2016, retrieved from http://paidpost.nytimes.com/netflix/women-inmates-separate-but-not-equal.html
This could be the saviour news companies need to keep reporting news. Only time will tell how this ‘native advertisement’ or sponsor content will be handled to let readers know what it is and how it will impact the news we read. In the mean time, at least you know why Buzzed keeps making top 10 articles.