Having recently left the CMO role at Pepsi for a similar role as Buzzfeed’s first CMO, Frank Cooper had an interesting response when asked what the modern media company looks like. He said:
A modern media company maps what’s really happening in people’s lives today. It’s not trapped by a legacy financial model or an operating system that’s rooted in mass media. It’s free of that. When you free yourself of that, the modern media company produces a lot more content, probably in shorter form, it’s likely to be on mobile, it’s iterative — you adapt as you get more information back. And most importantly, it has a data loop, which makes everyone much more intelligent about what types of content to create, who you should have creating the content, where you should be distributing it, and how you actually spin that content experience beyond the initial launch.
Of course, Cooper is positing Buzzfeed as the very epitome of this definition which, in many respects it is. I’m not mad at him. In fact, when you think about “modern media companies”, what comes to mind are Buzzfeed, Mashable, maybe The Atlantic Media Group, but it’s a short list.
Interestingly, the “data loop” Cooper mentions is described by Ben Parr (former editor-at-large of Mashable) in a fantastic podcast conversation with Mitch Joel as a “virality engine”. That is, Buzzfeed has an algorithm that helps the company figure out the topics that are most likely to spread. What’s also true is that few companies have the resources to build such a capability.
But that’s the game.
Check out the full Q&A with Frank Cooper in Advertising Age here.