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    One Billion Video Views In A Month

    A memo from Ze Frank, President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.

    I'm very happy and proud to announce that in February BuzzFeed Motion Pictures hit an incredible milestone: 1 billion video views in a single month. These are not views to content we aggregate, or to channels we partner with, but a billion views to videos that we have made in our studios.

    That is an astounding number for a division of BuzzFeed that is less than two and a half years old.

    In fall 2012 we were five people crammed into two small rooms in Culver City sharing a single camera. Today, we are a team of over 160 employees on our 4-acre Hollywood campus, 25,000 square feet of which is dedicated to production. When we started, we experimented with new short video formats and uploaded them to a single channel on YouTube. Today we distribute roughly 50 videos each week to more than 20 platforms and portals around the world. Our content ranges from medium length to short form to shorter-than-short form, from scripted and unscripted recurring series to expanding character universes, from animated to live action, and soon feature-length film. We have become a vibrant, energetic hub for innovation in media and for the incubation of talent.

    A billion views in a month is an amazing accomplishment, but we are just at the beginning of building a giant global media company and there are many challenges ahead. Other publishers are adopting the formats that we pioneered, which means we can't rest on our past successes. We have to make sure that we are constantly building and improving on what we have learned, as well as challenging ourselves to think of new expressions of the moving image. As new platforms and new technologies come online that change the way that media is consumed, we will have to stay open to new ways of thinking about making content, new skill sets, and new approaches to measuring the value of our work. Our growth will give us opportunities to expand into a wider variety of formats and content businesses, some of which operate on models that no longer reflect the modern reality. As we expand, we always have to lean into new ways of thinking about talent, distribution, and the creative process. We should think about the impact that our media is having on our culture, and, perhaps more importantly, the impact we aspire to have on the world.

    The core of what we do is fairly simple: We hire smart and talented people and give them resources, support, and data so that they can make far-reaching and impactful work. We believe that the future of content is wide open, and that this future will be formed out of experimentation, learning, and play. We will need many people working on this problem from diverse perspectives and using a variety of approaches, and this means that whenever possible we will lean into autonomy with purpose rather than the old model of command-and-control–style management. We will figure it out together. It is an exciting, challenging, and sometimes frightening process, and I am so grateful to have all of you as collaborators as we move into the unknown.

    Jonah has talked a lot about how we are able to do amazing things when we bring to bear all of the capacities of BuzzFeed in the service of a single goal. BFMP's growth was possible because of you — all of you. Editorial has given us countless ideas, and perhaps more importantly a road map for how to think about ideation, creative leadership, and iteration. Product, Dev, and Data have created the tools that we now use to try to understand the complexities of experimenting across many platforms and portals. Creative, Operations, and Sales have paved the way for us to engage brands in a way that is changing the conversation about what advertising can aspire to. Design, HR, IT, Events, Marketing... the list goes on — every part of the company has played a role in getting us to this point.

    Thank you. It is such a privilege for us to work with all of you, and we are looking forward to everything we can accomplish together in the years to come.