BuzzFeed hopes its viral cat fare can go toe-to-toe with Britain’s own raucous tabloid culture. On Monday, the fast-growing American news site formally launched a customized, UK-version of its homepage, which will feature content like “43 things British people know to be true” alongside sponsored stories that promote UK brands and events.
Never one for understatement, BuzzFeed is promoting the launch with a London event and an animated flyer that shows Queen Elizabeth II riding a tweaked-out corgi dog against a Doctor Who style background:
This is BuzzFeed’s first international expansion and comes after it received nearly $20 million in new funding early this year. According to editorial director, Scott Lamb, the UK site will start by offering “great pop culture content” that represents BuzzFeed’s roots. He explained the strategic goal this way:
“Social is global. We already had a solid audience in the UK, a place that embraces Twitter and Facebook in a huge way, so it made sense for it to be BuzzFeed’s first foray into international waters.” A report from the Next Web says the UK content will come from a four-person team based in London. Meanwhile, a BuzzFeed spokesperson told us that the largest proportion of BuzzFeed’s overall traffic was coming from the UK early Monday morning.
BuzzFeed’s expansion comes at a time when UK and US press outlets are increasingly entering each other’s markets; Britain’s the Daily Mail and the Guardian, for instance, are making a concerted effort for American readers.
BuzzFeed also appears to have brought its trademark native advertising across the pond in the form of “stories” like “15 Kinds of People You Will See at Ultra,” a photo-feature produced by an energy drink maker. BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti has long argued that this form of advertising, which can be distributed across social media, is more effective than traditional internet display advertising.