BuzzFeed Studios previously was repped by WME. The division develops scripted and unscripted projects based on existing BuzzFeed intellectual property, including BuzzFeed News articles. The company says it uses a data-driven approach to greenlighting projects, analyzing metrics from its global audience.
In 2020, BuzzFeed Studios and Lionsgate announced a partnership to develop, produce, and distribute a multipicture slate of “socially relevant and high-concept” feature films aimed at millennial and Gen Z audiences, including genre thriller feature films and co-acquisitions by the studios.
Also last year, BuzzFeed Studios inked a first-look deal with Universal Television, under which the studio will produce scripted content based on BuzzFeed News stories and original reporting.
“We’re delighted to be working across the board with CAA, which has the power, reach and unique capabilities to match our ambitions,” Richard Alan Reid, BuzzFeed’s senior VP of global content and head of studio. “They have a deep understanding of how BuzzFeed Studios can best leverage our digital advantages, innovative brands, loved IP, and vast global audience to deliver first-in-class entertainment, and pioneer new territory in TV and film.”
As part of BuzzFeed Studios’ signing with CAA, Tandem Entertainment, CAA’s recently acquired branded entertainment sales and creative team, will act as an outside sales arm to sell talent-led branded content packages to advertisers for BuzzFeed.
News of the deal with CAA comes amid reports BuzzFeed is looking to go public to reap a fresh infusion of cash. The company is in talks with 890 5th Avenue Partners, a special-purpose acquisition corporation, about an IPO, Bloomberg reported. BuzzFeed recently closed the acquisition of HuffPost from Verizon Media and this week announced it was laying off 70 HuffPost staffers. As part of the HuffPost transaction, Verizon took a minority stake in the company valuing BuzzFeed at $1.7 billion, per Bloomberg.
BuzzFeed has a history of trying to create longer-form entertainment — with limited success. In 2014, the company renamed its video business unit BuzzFeed Motion Pictures with ambitious plans to launch movies that so far haven’t come to fruition. The since-redubbed BuzzFeed Studios has produced a few shows, including “Follow This” for Netflix and BuzzFeed’s “AM to DM” daily morning talk show on Twitter which was canceled in April 2020 after a little over two years.