BuzzFeed Will Focus on Video, Rethink Traffic Partner Program

BuzzFeed_BadgesLast Friday BuzzFeed announced it would wind down its traffic partner network in order to focus more on video.

Reported Quartz’ John McDuling, a note to network participants read:

BuzzFeed has decided to wind down its existing partner network over the coming months. The partner network was an extremely valuable product for us and for partners but its place has changed as the industry has evolved and BuzzFeed has grown into a fully staffed, global news and entertainment organization over the last few years.

BuzzFeed, despite its success, is an anomaly and is still trying to decipher a path to long-term viability. A weird mix of strong investigative reporting and silly lists, its quirk is undeniable, as many of its content partners and readers can probably attest. Still, there’s no way it could be a bad thing to let BuzzFeed refer web traffic to you, no matter what kind of content they’re initially consuming on the viral site.

By hosting links and top headlines from a group of 200 publishers on the BuzzFeed site and a platform, those organizations got the benefit of BuzzFeed traffic and demographics while BuzzFeed received a trove of data about what kinds of other news its readers enjoyed, and how they navigated other pubs’ sites, so they could better plan their own content, McDuling, a corporate reporter, explained.

Aside from its shift of focus to video, the move may mean that BuzzFeed doesn’t need the service anymore, or that they’re not as interested in helping primary text-based publishers out with traffic.

And really, now that BuzzFeed is a “fully staffed, global news and entertainment organization,” it can afford to produce all a reader might want in one spot. Perhaps they don’t want people leaving their site. But it’s clear that BuzzFeed wants to be in on video action and at the head of the pack when it comes to making its video presence prevalent, relevant and top-of-mind for its readers, which will require noticeable change in content presentation. Currently, BuzzFeed Video is a huge force to reckon with, but it’s not Upworthy … yet.

The email to content partners said once the existing network dies down at the end of June, BuzzFeed will begin new relationships with a handful of editorial partners whose content is “solely focused around video.” Hmm … who could this be? Fusion? Upworthy? Viral Nova? It’ll be fun to wait and watch how BuzzFeed’s video arrangements affect their old content partners and potentially build up the video-centric folks they’re teaming up with. Thoughts?