CNN has granted BuzzFeed access to its archival footage to create news videos specifically geared to YouTube audiences online and on mobile devices. The partnership debuted today and features a dedicated YouTube channel called “CNN Buzzfeed” but will also include BuzzFeed’s signature lists researched in unison with CNN and hosted on CNN’s site, the first of which is “20 of our favorite straight actors who played gay characters” in a nod to the main characters of HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace.”
The first video, “Amazing Rescue Moments on CNN,” is voiced by Ze Frank, BuzzFeed’s executive vice president of video and head of the new “social video studio” BuzzFeed is constructing in LA. Plans for the studio include expanding the studio’s staff to 30 employees as well as a coffee shop and a store to entice celebrities and talent to drop by and record informal videos.
BuzzFeed says “over 400 years” of BuzzFeed video content has been watched on YouTube since September, encompassing over 500 videos and 170 million views. Of those videos, 48 have over one million views, including one of Mr. Frank’s videos, “True Facts about the Angler Fish,” from his “True Facts” series.
Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed’s president & COO, notes that “over 70% of BuzzFeed’s traffic is social, almost half is mobile, and we are seeing these huge shifts earlier than others because the majority of our readers are 18–34. We are thrilled to partner with YouTube to bring a new generation of video content to a BuzzFeed audience that lives on social media and mobile phones.”
As such, the emphasis will be placed heavily on videos under three minutes — “True Facts” tend to be no longer than three minutes and “Amazing Rescue Moments on CNN” clocks in at two — to encourage sharing. And in order to ensure BuzzFeed captures the full attention of their 60-million-member audience, it plans to link to dedicated video section directly from the BuzzFeed homepage, and also plans to expand into additional channels on YouTube.