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BuzzFeed's Video Boss: Facebook 'Very Significant' for Traffic (Video)

Facebook and YouTube provide the bulk of BuzzFeed's massive video traffic, but YouTube is still king -- for now.

Asa Mathat

BuzzFeed is a video maven, but the company is relying heavily — very heavily, in fact — on other platforms to get its video out to the world.

Of the 950 million video views BuzzFeed collects each month, only 5 percent come from, Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, told Re/code’s Peter Kafka on Tuesday at the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

BuzzFeed syndicates its video content on 26 different platforms, none more valuable to the company than YouTube and Facebook, Frank said. YouTube is still the dominant traffic driver in terms of video views, but Frank says Facebook’s push into video has been substantial. “It’s very, very significant [at driving views],” he said.

It has also changed the video-creation process; because videos autoplay silently on Facebook until a user manually turns up the volume, video producers need to be able to capture a viewer’s attention without any audio.

“Facebook’s decision to lean into autoplay has really fundamentally changed the way we think about the first five seconds of content,” Frank said.

Frank runs what is arguably the most important element of BuzzFeed, the 160-person video group that churns out 50 video pieces each week. The company’s video channel on YouTube has more than two billion total views. Compare that with CNN (644 million) or Mashable (66 million), and you get an idea of how far ahead BuzzFeed truly is.

That doesn’t even include video views generated by Facebook, where videos uploaded directly to the site now autoplay (a little feature that helps boost that “views” metric quite a bit). A recent BuzzFeed video of President Obama pitching Obamacare while doing things like making funny faces in the mirror and using a selfie stick has nearly 50 million views on Facebook alone.

BuzzFeed may be moving away from these short-form videos, however, or at least adding longer content to its library. Original long-form Web content is cropping up with more regularity on platforms like Netflix and Amazon (think “House of Cards”). Frank says BuzzFeed is working on taking that next step, too.

Below, video highlights from the interview.

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