NewsCorp is trying to take on BuzzFeed and reach millennials with a Funny Or Die / BuzzFeed-esque viral video website, Mumbrella reports.
The site, dubbed “Internet Action Force,” describes itself as “the world’s first rapid-response team of highly trained, socially awkward digital nerds.”
Internet Action Force is staffed by a number of improv comedians, including editor John Devore, who was previously the managing editor of talkshow host Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco comedy video website.
Videos currently running on the site include “‘Game of Thrones’ Recap From Someone Who’s Only Seen Last Night’s Episode,” “A Vegan Untangles Her Earbuds,” and “Where Were You When Tiger Woods And Lindsey Vonn Broke Up?”
Internet Action Force has been live for “a month or so,” according to Mumbrella, but was officially launched to advertisers at the annual Digital Newfronts event in New York last week. The Digital Newfronts is a week-long event where digital media owners including YouTube, AOL, and Yahoo tout their wares in the hope of signing major deals.
The media kit for Internet Action Force pitches the site as “original,” “curated,” “social,” and “entertaining.”
Internet Action Force Media Kit
Internet Action Force
Advertisers can choose from pre-roll 15- or 30-second ads within Internet Action Force original videos and licensed inventory, BuzzFeed-style “native” video ads, and traditional desktop, mobile, and table display ads.
The launch of Internet Action Force comes just months after News Corp chief executive Robert Thompson blasted BuzzFeed, criticizing it as a “strange” and “garish” site filled with “rubbish,” as reported by The Huffington Post.
Nevertheless, BuzzFeed has proven extremely successful: It reaches more than 191 million visitors worldwide, according to Quantcast, and it is valued at $850 million.
Millennials, mobile, and video are the combination of priorities publishers are currently looking at in order to boost their value in the digital age — which is clearly what News Corp is attempting to do here, combining all three.
Revenues in News Corp’s news and information services division (in which Internet Action Force will sit) fell 6% year on year to $1.5 billion in its second quarter, owing to weaknesses in the ad market and negative foreign currency fluctuations. News Corp reports its third quarter results on Tuesday.
Internet Action Force’s traffic is nowhere near BuzzFeed-level yet: Most of the videos it has currently produced only have a couple of hundred views on YouTube, it has just over 800 Twitter followers, and its rank in the US for traffic according to Alexa is just 25,095 — although, bizarrely, Internet Action Force has over 15,000 Facebook likes already.
As Mashable notes, some people on Twitter are not taking Internet Action Force very seriously:
News Corp’s Internet Action Force is essentially Dr. Evil doing the Macarena.#imhip
— Ian Desmond (@jaarius) May 4, 2015