Tasty, BuzzFeed’s collection of aerial-view, time-lapse cooking videos, has been the fiercest test of the company’s thesis that the future of media is in creating winning content for social media platforms. The addictive, cheese- and avocado-laden shorts, part of the company’s first vertical that doesn’t bear the BuzzFeed brand, have drawn nearly 40 billion views in less than two years on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Tasty’s own site.
The channel has also attracted advertiser love because of how smoothly brands can be integrated. More than 1 million people shared Tasty’s jalapeño popper burger recipe cooked on Oster’s 7-Minute Grill, boosting the appliance-maker’s sales. The vertical has even led BuzzFeed into commerce: Tasty: The Cookbook, a hard-copy collection that can be customized according to recipe type (from breakfast food to kids’ meals), sold a whopping 100,000 copies in its first few weeks. “We didn’t even know the brand was that powerful,” says Tasty’s global general manager Ashley McCollum.
BuzzFeed recognized that Tasty could be a test kitchen for other original, service-oriented video brands. So Tasty begot Nifty (do-it-yourself home projects) and Goodful (healthy living). Each new vertical is first proven out within the last one, and each has grown faster than its predecessors. By focusing on categories that already have followings—there are 24-hour cable networks devoted to each one—BuzzFeed is wooing cord-cutters and people who’ve never had cable. As long as “Tasty Inc.” is racking up views, McCollum says she’ll follow her company’s mantra: “Don’t fuck with growth.”
This article is part of our coverage of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017.