BuzzFeed moves into film production

BuzzFeed, the digital media company best known for its list-based articles, is launching a production outfit, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, to produce content ranging from short clips to feature films.

Ze Frank, formerly BuzzFeed’s executive vice president of video, will head the division, based in Los Angeles. Producer Michael Shamberg (pictured), whose credits include Django Unchained and Contagion, and comedian Jordan Peele have been brought on board as advisors.

The move follows a $50m investment in BuzzFeed from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the company at $850m.

BuzzFeed will continue to produce animated GIFs and short clips for social media and expand to half-hour series and eventually feature-length movies. It plans to use the short video content to test out ideas and characters for long-form content, and will possibly work with traditional US studios on films.

“The future of content companies is crystal clear: mobile, video, social and tech,” said BuzzFeed co-founder and executive chairman Kenneth Lerer in a statement. “Expanding BuzzFeed’s business across each of these areas is the key to the future.”

The company also plans to establish a “Future of Fiction” working group to explore different forms of content and transmedia video. BuzzFeed’s New York-based editorial team will be divided into three segments – News, Buzz and Life. In addition BuzzFeed plans to expand its editorial team to India, Germany, Mexico and Japan.