In the latest a16z podcast Chris Dixon (who now sits on the board of BuzzFeed following Andreessen Horowitz’s recent $50m investment) interviews Buzzfeed's founder, Jonah Peretti. One of the things that interests me most about Buzzfeed is that (in common with a new breed of media upstarts including Quartz, Circa, Medium, Vice) they are building a media company from scratch and so don't view what they do through the lens of a legacy business.
There's some good nuggets in the interview, including how Buzzfeed approach the distribution of content ('social networks are the new cable operators'), some interesting points on mobile video consumption (out of last months' 400m video views around half were on mobile, and the average consumption time on mobile for one of their 6,000 word pieces was 22 minutes), and the sophisticated way in which they use data (taking a nuanced, sceptical view on what the data is telling them, focusing on meaningful metrics, not just clicks).
Dixon describes Buzzfeed as a 'full stack' startup. He's said before now that he believes that we are in the deployment phase of the internet: "The most interesting tech companies aren’t trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom". So Buzzfeed is a media company in the same way that Netflix is a streaming movie company, or Uber a taxi comany, or Tesla a car company. They have technology at their core.
Buzzfeed has followed the classic path of disruptive technologies - coming in at the low end of the market, being initially dismissed by many as insignificant, but then moving steadily up market. BuzzFeed now reaches over 150 million people each month, is forecast to generate triple digit millions in revenues this year, and is consistently profitable. We under-estimate newcomers like this at our peril.