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The Business of Content

Mar 26, 2020

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti has expressed a lot of frustration with the large platforms that dominate our online browsing. In 2018, for instance, he complained that Facebook captures a lot of value from publishers and argued that it should share more of its revenue with them. That same year, he floated a merger of several digital media companies so they’d have more bargaining power against the platforms.

And then recently he wrote a memo in which he lamented that publishers didn’t receive enough credit for the consumer purchases they drive. “The two most important players in this chain are the publisher who inspired a consumer to take action and the companies that actually deliver the product But most of the profit is captured by digital middlemen who didn’t create much value.” In the memo, he promised that BuzzFeed was working hard to solve this attribution problem.

To get an idea of how BuzzFeed plans to solve this problem, I recently spoke to Rich Reid, its senior vice president of global content. We talked about Bring Me, BuzzFeed’s travel vertical that publishes a wide range of video and text content across its website and social channels. Recently, Bring Me formed an ad partnership with Hilton, and I asked Reid about how his team designed the campaign so that BuzzFeed gets full credit for any business it sends Hilton’s way.