BuzzFeed Reorganizes Entertainment Group, Frank Named Chief Research/Development Officer

BuzzFeed is reorganizing its entertainment group and the president of the division, Ze Frank, is taking on the newly created role of chief research and development officer.

Frank will be in charge of experimenting with new video formats and emerging platforms, as well as “creating production models for new formats, platforms, and audience experiences,” CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a memo to staff Wednesday.

Frank will also continue to work on branded content initiatives for the company. He will lead a 12-person team.

The new role is a more creative position for Frank, who was overseeing nearly all non-news efforts at BuzzFeed, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The changes are part of a larger reorganization at BuzzFeed that began late last year.

In November, the online publisher said it was laying off roughly 100 employees in the U.S. and restructuring its advertising sales organization “amid a tough digital media market.” 



The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that BuzzFeed will miss its 2017 revenue targets by 15% to 20%.

"The best media companies generate revenue from many sources, tapping a combination of advertising, subscriptions, studio development, brand licensing and merchandising,” Peretti wrote in a December memo. A diverse business model for BuzzFeed means moving away from direct-sold ads.

The entertainment group, which was created in 2016, “operated as a catch-all for a broad, diverse collection of creative work,” Peretti wrote in a memo published this week. The new structure will “provide employees with greater clarity and focus in their roles.”

Going forward, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures will rebrand as BuzzFeed Studios to focus on film and television production; it will be overseen by Matthew Henick. The company will hire a new COO for BuzzFeed Studios “to sync our business functions,” Peretti wrote.

Video brands like the popular food-focused Tasty and Goodful will be moved into a new group called BuzzFeed Media Brands. It will be led by editorial director of lifestyle Peggy Wang until BuzzFeed hires an executive to run the division. 

The company is also creating BuzzFeed Entertainment and Native Advertising, led by executive creative producer Summer Burton. It will combine BuzzFeed's core entertainment business with the branded-creative groups, according to Variety.


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