BuzzFeed today named digital media executive Melinda Lee as its first-ever Chief Content Officer, BuzzFeed Media Brands, a newly formed division inclusive of the company’s fast-growing lifestyle brands Tasty; home brand Nifty; health and wellness brand Goodful; along with new beauty and style brand As/Is and new parenting brand Playfull. In her role, Lee will oversee editorial and business operations for the brands, and work closely with the company’s Advertising, Commerce and Studio teams to create new opportunities across partnerships, product development, licensing, original content development, and more. Lee joins BuzzFeed from Meredith Corporation where she served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Video.
Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s Founder and CEO said, “I’m thrilled Melinda is joining us and I’m excited to see her apply her deep experience building out brand portfolios to help us quickly grow our media brands group by emphasizing brands that serve audiences, instead of the other way around. The growth and monetization of BuzzFeed Media Brands is an integral part of our strategy to diversify BuzzFeed’s business to a multi-revenue model.”
Melinda Lee said, "Whether it's food, beauty, health and well-being or home, BuzzFeed has an unmatched talent for creating brands that facilitate human connection and draw people together. Combined with their massive reach across social platforms - and even now in department stores across the country - there's a huge opportunity for brands like Tasty, Goodful, Nifty, Playfull and As/Is to grow revenue and embrace emerging models. I'm so honored to join BuzzFeed in its next growth phase of the business."
As Chief Content Officer, BuzzFeed Media Brands, Lee will be responsible for accelerating the growth of the company’s lifestyle portfolio, building their scale across digital platforms and creating new opportunities through the company’s Advertising, Studio, and Commerce businesses. Currently, the BuzzFeed Media Brands Portfolio produces some of the most popular digital content in the world, reaching more than 600M people monthly on Facebook and BuzzFeed properties alone across the portfolio of brands. Lee will look to build on the successful playbook the company established with social food network Tasty. In less than three years, Tasty has grown to become the number-one brand and branded content partner on Facebook, has more than 6.2M subscribers on YouTube, and has expanded its business in multiple ways including the Tasty Cookbook, the Tasty One Top, and a cookware line available exclusively through Walmart. The BuzzMedia Brands Portfolio also includes home brand Nifty, which has one of the most engaged audiences across BuzzFeed, with more than 70% of the audience having made a Nifty project; health and wellness brand Goodful which reached more than 1M likes on Facebook in just 52 hours after launch; new parenting brand Playfull; and new beauty and style brand As/Is, which launched in February 2018 with content that reaches 9 out of 10 Millennial women in U.S every month.
Lee joined Meredith in 2016 to oversee and grow the company’s video studios nationwide, and expand its reach through new products, programming, and partnerships. In her role, Lee implemented a strategy that emphasized collaboration and experimentation, working across Meredith’s broad portfolio to champion new video formats and technologies including live, 360-degree video, and virtual reality. She also created opportunities to move Meredith’s IP and digital initiatives across platforms, including developing Allrecipes’ Dinner Spinner mobile app as a television show for the CW.
Prior to joining Meredith, Lee served as Vice President, Content and Audience Development at Hearst Magazines International, overseeing video and digital content initiatives globally for properties including Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Digital Spy and Harper’s Bazaar. At Hearst, Lee launched the company’s first global content studio, overseeing strategy, production, and distribution for the unit.
Before Hearst, Lee held executive roles at Getty Images and Viacom, and co-founded award-winning digital media production studio and video aggregator Uncensored Interview. Lee was recognized in 2017 by FOLIO among the Corporate Visionaries in their Top Women in Media. Her creative work has been recognized each year by multiple industry organizations including the SXSW Interactive Awards, The Webby Awards and The W3 Awards.
BuzzFeed is the world’s leading tech-powered media company, with a cross-platform news and entertainment network that reaches hundreds of millions of people globally. The company produces articles, lists, quizzes, videos, original series, and brands including Tasty, the world’s largest social food network. The company is also home to BuzzFeed News, a global news organization focused on original reporting and investigative journalism; and BuzzFeed Commerce, which develops social commerce products and experiences, as well as licensing and other strategic partnerships.