In his new role, Gauthier, who is based in Los Angeles, will oversee a team of 40 producers. His promotion is part of a reorg coming after BuzzFeed announced the formation last month of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, after the company raised $50 million in funding from venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Gauthier previously was the lead producer for BuzzFeed’s team that generated viral videos, including “Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover Models” and “Drunk vs. Stoned.” He reports to Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. Under the new strategy, BuzzFeed Video will be actively developing new scripted, sitcom-style series.
“Andrew is a creative force in helping us understand how to make shareable short-form videos,” said Frank.
BuzzFeed is eyeing potentially feature-length film projects, and has enlisted producer Michael Shamberg (“Django Unchained,” “Contagion”) and actor-comedian Jordan Peele (of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele”) as advisers.
Gauthier’s mandate, however, is to figure out how to convert bite-size hits into more substantial properties. “Today, it’s one- to two-minute videos for YouTube and Facebook, as well as other syndication partners,” he said. “Now we are going to make a conscious effort to test storylines and characters that can be broadened into longer-form content.”
BuzzFeed Video’s content will continue to be primarily produced in-house at the company’s four-acre L.A. facility located at Sunset and Vine, according to Gauthier.
As an example of what it might become a longer-form series, Gauthier cited “Weird Things All Couples Fight About.” That video has been shared on Facebook 1 million times since BuzzFeed posted it two weeks ago, and has more than 30 million views. “There is a desire among viewers to get attached to characters, and to follow them over a certain period of time,” he said. The common thread is content that “resonates with viewers, and they have the response of, ‘That’s so me.’”
According to Gauthier, his team has no interaction with the branded-content side of the house, which among other projects produced short-form promos for VH1’s “Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn.” But clearly, the “couples” originals from BuzzFeed mesh very well with the VH1 conceit.
Gauthier joined BuzzFeed in 2012. Originally based in New York, he moved to L.A. last year. Previously, Gauthier worked on video production for Mediabistro and The Awl, and was a producer on a number of nonfiction TV shows for A&E, ITV and ESPN.
According to BuzzFeed, the site overall generates more than 150 million monthly views on YouTube, and more than 230 million monthly views across all platforms.