Staff meetings at BuzzFeed are not uncommon. Jonah H. Peretti, the site’s founder and chief executive, who is based in Los Angeles, travels to the New York offices regularly and often meets with employees to answer questions or outline strategy.
But two recent meetings took on greater import, after BuzzFeed told employees two weeks ago that it was formally dividing its news and entertainment divisions. The day the reorganization was announced, Ben Smith, the editor in chief, met with the news staff to reassure them that the company was committed to its news operations. And last Wednesday, Mr. Peretti held a question-and-answer session and vowed that the company was not planning to sell its news division.
Staff members at BuzzFeed said the overhaul provoked curiosity rather than deep anxiety. Still, BuzzFeed’s reorganization seemed a transformative moment for a company staking a big bet on the future of video and entertainment.
Already, video represents more than 50 percent of BuzzFeed’s total revenue, compared with 15 percent at the end of 2014. In the next two years, BuzzFeed expects that video will generate up to 75 percent of its advertising revenue, according to a person briefed on the company’s operations.
The move also reflects a broader shift at media companies that are increasingly turning to video and entertainment news to lure a younger generation and attract online advertising dollars. In April, the website Mashable made a round of job cuts as it moved away from covering world and political news, and Mic, a site aimed at a young audience, hopes to have 60 percent of the company focused on video by year’s end.
Traditional news organizations like The New York Times and Tronc, formerly called Tribune Publishing, are investing heavily in video as well.
As video moves from an ancillary pursuit to a more important source of revenue, the shifts in structure and emphasis are causing major changes and some uncertainty in newsrooms. “In any company, especially one that’s going through rapid scale and one that has geographical disbursement, there are disconnects that come up,” said Ze Frank, who until the recent reorganization was president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, the company’s video division.Under the new structure, Mr. Smith, who is based in New York, will lead BuzzFeed News, and Mr. Frank, who is based in Los Angeles, will oversee a new division called BuzzFeed Entertainment Group. It no longer made sense, Mr. Peretti said in a memo to employees, for BuzzFeed to have “a single ‘video department.’”