E-singles came into being in part because of the dwindling availability of longform work in magazines, newspapers, and online; the success of The Atavist, Byliner, and their ilk in the past two years has shown that there is an enthusiastic audience for the form. And now even Web-news upstart Buzzfeed is jumping in, announcing in October that it is hiring a longform editor.
So even as the evolutionary arc of the e-single is becoming a bit clearer, those on the inside say the market is still in a see-what-sticks phase. As Mark Bryant, Byliner’s cofounder and editor in chief, put it, “We’re all sort of figuring it out as we go along. It makes it challenging, but also quite fun.”