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NBCUniversal makes $200-million investment in Buzzfeed

NBCUniversal makes $200-million investment in Buzzfeed
Andrew Gauthier shoots a video for Buzzfeed Motion Pictures with sound grip Patrick Ward and lighting assistant Steven Aleck. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Entertainment conglomerate NBCUniversal has agreed to make a $200-million equity investment in BuzzFeed, both companies confirmed Tuesday.

The companies plan to collaborate on projects including television shows, movies, Olympics coverage and other "joint partnership with ad agencies and brands," Buzzfeed Executive Chairman Kenneth Lerer said in a statement.

The deal was widely rumored last month, with reports that NBCUniversal was in talks to invest as much as $250 million in Buzzfeed News in the attempt to reach a younger audience that has moved away from traditional broadcast media to getting its news and entertainment online.

NBCUniversal’s most popular shows, such as its morning juggernaut “Today” and its programs on its cable channels E! and Bravo, increasingly attract viewers in their 30s and 40s and even older.

Traditional news organizations are trying to discover how to best curate and post stories that are easily shared among users on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Shareable content is key as advertisers move more of their budgets to sites like Buzzfeed.

In addition to providing news coverage and bite-sized "listicles," Buzzfeed also has a video arm, Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, that is one of the top video producers on the Web, garnering 1.5 billion monthly views.

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That success has attracted advertisers who partner with BuzzFeed to create content in hopes of attracting millions of views. Purina's "Puppyhood" video, for example, has garnered 65 million views across YouTube and Facebook.

In a memo to his staff, BuzzFeed's founder and chief executive, Jonah Peretti, said the deal assures the company's financial independence.

It allows "us to grow and invest without pressure to chase short-term revenue or rush an IPO," he said.

The Buzzfeed team reaches "a massive, loyal audience and have proven to be among the most creative, popular and influential new media players," said NBCUniversal Chief Executive  Steve Burke. " We are pleased to be making this investment and for our companies to partner and work together."

Twitter: @traceylien

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