Another week, another growth spurt for BuzzFeed.
The viral news site announced on Tuesday that it is investing in and expanding its video operations, a move that will include a new studio for social video and a partnership with CNN. BuzzFeed/CNN collaborations will appear on a new YouTube channel as well as CNN.com, the companies said on Tuesday. KC Estenson, senior vice president of CNN Digital, called the venture the “perfect modern-day media collaboration.”
“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,” he said in a statement.
For the collaboration, BuzzFeed editorial staffers will mine CNN’s video footage and archival content to churn out mash-up videos designed for optimum virality. Following the announcement on Tuesday, the BuzzFeed/CNN partnership had already begun bearing fruit. On the newly created CNNBuzzFeed YouTube channel, a montage of “Amazing Rescue Moments On CNN” was uploaded on Monday. The two-minute video is narrated by Ze Frank, an online performance artist and BuzzFeed’s executive vice president of video.
On CNN.com, meanwhile, a slightly more BuzzFeedy effort appeared: a photo essay of 20 straight actors who played gay characters. (Tom Hanks in “Philadelphia is No. 1 if you’re interested.) Posted on Tuesday morning by Ryan Broderick, the listicle is identified as a “collaborative effort between the editorial staffs of BuzzFeed and CNN.”
As part of BuzzFeed’s video explanation, Frank will lead a team of video creators who will apply the site’s successful formula for viral listicles to create “shareable, emotionally compelling” video content designed to spread like wildfire across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. According to John Steinberg, BuzzFeed’s president and COO, BuzzFeed gets more than 70 percent of its traffic from social. That’s a stark contrast from a typical news site, which gets about 9 percent from social, according to Pew Research’s “State of the News Media 2012” report. For most news sites, however, those numbers are rapidly increasing, with social traffic having grown an average of 57 percent last year, according to Pew.
“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,” Steinberg said in a statement.
Production for BuzzFeed’s video expansion will be based in Los Angeles, in a newly constructed social-video studio complete with a coffee shop, store and a video team that will grow to 30 people in the coming months. BuzzFeed.com gets 60 million unique visitors a month, according to the company.
CNN is part of the Turner Broadcasting System, a unit of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX). YouTube is owned by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Check out the first BuzzFeed/CNN video effort below.