BuzzFeed Hires Comedy Central’s Shari Cleary as SVP of Research

BuzzFeed has recruited Shari Cleary, a Viacom veteran who most recently headed Comedy Central’s research team, as senior VP of research and insights.

Cleary will oversee all of BuzzFeed’s advertising analytics and will lead the digital-media company’s efforts to establish accurate and standardized distributed, cross-platform measurement. She replaces Edwin Wong, who left BuzzFeed earlier this year to join Vox Media as SVP of insights and innovation. Cleary is based at BuzzFeed headquarters in New York City and reports to chief revenue officer Lee Brown.

“Shari’s deep understanding of audiences and they way they engage with content across platforms, as well as her impressive background in digital media make her the perfect choice to lead our research and insights group,” Brown said in announcing her hire.

On the cross-platform front, BuzzFeed is one of the founding partners of the Tubular Labs-led Global Video Measurement Alliance, designed to collaborate on developing standards for tracking viewership across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms

Cleary has over 20 years of experience in media analytics. As Comedy Central’s SVP of strategic insights and research, she oversaw analytics and consumer insights across all the brand’s platforms including digital and linear.

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She first joined Viacom in 2007, where she held multiple roles including leading digital research across MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Paramount TV and TVLand’s websites, mobile apps and social-media accounts.

Before Viacom, Cleary held senior research roles at Adobe Omniture and CBS after earlier stints at comScore and ACNielsen. She also previously served as an executive board member for the Digital Analytics Association and co-founded the Media Special Interest Group. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree with a concentration in marketing from New York’s Binghamton University School of Management.

NBCUniversal is among BuzzFeed’s backers, having invested $400 million in the company. BuzzFeed axed 15% of its workforce earlier this year in a bid to boost profitability. CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a memo that he’s bullish on the company’s growth prospects, with a strategy of diversifying revenue streams and making its content distribution on big platforms like Facebook and YouTube “financially sustainable.”

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