BuzzFeed is launching a new app today that's all about video. The app is just called BuzzFeed Video, and its interface is about as straightforward as its name — it's little more than a feed of the site's top shorts.
Videos play the second you stop on them
That might sound overly simple, but it's what makes the app so effective: you open it up, and there's already something filling your screen and ready to play. Videos start playing the second you hover over them; start scrolling again, and they'll pause while you find something new.
There are two sections to BuzzFeed Video: a trending feed, and a section containing its original series. The latter lets you dive through a series episode by episode, which is useful once you're hooked on something. But it's the trending feed that may be most used. By starting videos immediately, the trending feed immediately draws you in. You don't have to dig through search results, playlists, or other groupings. Just open up the app, and there's something to watch. Facebook has used this same technique to hook people in its mobile app, too.
BuzzFeed Video is available today on both iOS and Android. It's part of a push into native apps that the site began a little over a year ago, when it brought on a team of around 30 developers. But the question remains whether mobile apps are an effective way forward for online media, especially for a publication that relies so heavily on distribution over social apps. It's easy to stop and watch and BuzzFeed video when it pops up in your Facebook feed, but people may be less willing to install and regularly open an app just to find something new to watch.