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Buzzfeed teams with CNN for a new YouTube channel
Adorable kittens and puppies being adorable has been a winning strategy for Buzzfeed for a while now, but it looks like the viral content site popular with the 18- to 34-year-old demographic is looking to expand its news content in a decidedly more grown-up direction. The company announced Tuesday morning that it has partnered with CNN to produce a new YouTube channel that will be part of a larger “social video studio.”
As of Tuesday, the first video on the CNN/Buzzfeed channel is a mashup of CNN footage of amazing rescue moments. The channel will be powered by CNN’s archival footage and content will appear on both the Buzzfeed/CNN channel and CNN.com. The two organizations also plan to collaborate on list posts.
It’s a clear win for both companies, as Buzzfeed gains access to CNN’s footage and content, while CNN gains access to Buzzfeed’s desirable young audience. Buzzfeed’s Chief Operating Officer Jon Steinberg says that the channel will produce about three videos a week to begin with.
Interestingly, while Buzzfeed eschews traditional banner ads in favor of allowing advertisers to create their own branded content on the site, the new CNN/Buzzfeed channel will not start out with any advertising partners. Steinberg says that Buzzfeed and CNN will tackle sponsored content and ad formats some time down the road.
Buzzfeed has big plans for the future. Production will be headquartered in a newly constructed social video studio in Los Angeles, which will also have a coffee shop where celebrities and influencers can create informal videos for the Web. The team will grow to over 30 people in the coming months as Buzzfeed invests a “low eight-digit sum” into the platformover the next two years.
The company sees some 60 million unique monthly visitors and in 2012, it tripled its 2011 revenue. Buzzfeed actually has six other YouTube channels, which, to date, have racked up some 170 million views across 500 videos. Viewers have spent a combined 400 years watching Buzzfeed videos on YouTube, and 48 videos have gotten over one million views, including “The Angriest Babies in the World,” “What 2000 Calories Looks Like,” and “True Facts About the Angler Fish.”
Because Buzzfeed appeals to a younger audience, it’s seeing a lot more traction in the social and mobile spaces than other news and content services. Over 70% of Buzzfeed’s traffic is social, and almost half is mobile.
“BuzzFeed’s massive audience is hungry for new, interesting video formats, YouTube gets that better than anyone and we’re elated to be working with them,” said Ze Frank, BuzzFeed’s EVP of Video, in a statement. “CNN.com is one of the biggest, strongest news sites in the world. We are thrilled to work with their talented team and to tap into their incredible archive of footage as we try to crack original news video for the social web.”
Earlier this month, Buzzfeed launched a business news site aimed at extending its social reach to LinkedIn.
In January, Buzzfeed raised $19.3 million in funding at a $200 million valuation.
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