Just one year after rebranding from Glam Media, Mode Media is bringing all of its brands together on one site where it hopes to build the "largest native feed distribution platform outside of Facebook."
At its second Digital Content NewFronts presentation today, Mode unveiled its new newsfeed-style social platform, mode.com, which now hosts all of the content that used to be on sites like Glam.com, Foodie.com, Bliss.com and Brash.com. The idea is to help consumers sort through articles and videos that various editors, creators, video producers and experts publish. At launch, Arora said Mode has 100,000 pieces of content from more than 10,000 creators across style, food, entertainment, sports, family and news verticals.
Mode's effort comes at an interesting time for publishers. While Mode builds its own social platform, other publishers are pushing out content on ready-made sites like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat that already have massive reach.
Samir Arora, founder and CEO of Mode Media, explained that each social platform today has a purpose. For example, people use Facebook to find friends and look to Twitter as a news source. Mode hopes to stand out by sharing high-quality, curated articles that are vetted by editors (as opposed to newsfeeds curated by friends from high school).
"This is not like the 50 to 100 companies that have created a business inside a Facebook or Twitter, like BuzzFeed," Arora said. "This is spreading stories outside of Facebook. We are creating the largest native feed distribution platform outside of Facebook for premium [content] today."
How it works
The new platform is set up so that each of Mode's sites lives in a channel. Each channel has an editor in chief who decides which content to feature. And the content is tailored to users based on their preferences.
As Facebook and Twitter have proved, news feeds work best on mobile, so an accompanying app is a major selling point of Mode.
The platform is initially promising to bring in more than 200 million views and 25 million users a month. It has also already secured $18 million in advertising dollars from brands like Target.
The goal is to hit 1 billion views per month, which requires enlisting a crop of YouTube stars, online personalities and celebrities that have already amassed large online audiences.
Those influencers will be the face of six video series that support three of Mode's biggest sites—Tend.com, Brash.com and Glam.com. Compared to its pitch at last year's NewFronts, in which the bulk of content came from syndicated deals with TV companies, this year is all about original content that comes from Mode Studios—its in-house video production company.
Over the past year, Mode Studios has developed 18 original series, 22 branded video series and 12 digital films—the equivalent of 500 digital videos.
Beefing up content
Tend.com, Mode's parenting site, is beefing up its original programming with three series. One called Our House peeks inside the homes of family-oriented bloggers like Genevieve Gorder. Another program, Making Room, doles out home decorating tips.
Men-geared Brash also has two new series—Rad Pads and Counter Culture. Rad Pads tours the homes of cool guys like entrepreneur Marc Bell, while Counter Culture profiles food and alcohol experts. The latter will be hosted by Travis May, who runs the popular Instagram account Bros Being Basic. "We're going to get with the real experts, get behind the counter and really dig into how they create the famous food and spirits," May said.
For fashion- and beauty-focused Glam, Give Me Room will show lifestyle YouTube star Carly Cristman redecorating rooms on a budget.
Advertisers can then buy clips, preroll ads or series sponsorships against those videos, with a product aptly named Mode Branded Story.
"Our goal is to actually credentialize and put all content creators onto this platform," Arora said. "Our belief is you need the technology and the algorithm to actually find recommendations for you based on social activity, who you follow and things you do. But you need human curation first to actually say this is a good piece of content."