BuzzFeed is doubling down on video, building an L.A.-based “social video” studio designed to create news and entertainment content exclusively for YouTube and entering into pact with news cabler CNN.
The content will appear on CNN.com, BuzzFeed.com and the CNN/BuzzFeed YouTube channel, which will be stocked with current and archival video footage. In addition, the two companies will collaborate on original list posts, a hallmark of BuzzFeed’s approach; the first one is “20 of our favorite straight actors who played gay characters.”
For CNN, the deal is an attempt to reach auds that don’t watch traditional TV. “By pairing the journalistic strength and reach of the CNN brand with BuzzFeed’s unique editorial approach and young audience, our partnership will enable both organizations to engage new audiences,” CNN Digital senior veep K.C. Estenson said in announcing the pact.
BuzzFeed’s video initiative is led by Ze Frank, an online-video pioneer and the company’s exec VP of video. The strategy will be to try to generate viral video content that’s “emotionally compelling” for the site, which receives 70% of its traffic from social media.
The BuzzFeed production studio in L.A. will have a coffee shop and store where celebs and other guests will be able create informal videos. The video team will grow to over 30 people in the coming months, according to the company.
“There has been a massive cultural shift in how people — particularly young people — consume news and entertainment, and Ze and his team are tapping into the next generation of video production and consumption,” BuzzFeed prexy and COO Jon Steinberg said in a statement.
Here’s the first joint BuzzFeed/CNN video clip: