BuzzFeed partners with CNN and sets aside ‘low eight-digit sum’ for new YouTube channel

BuzzFeed partners with CNN and sets aside ‘low eight-digit sum’ for new YouTube channel

BuzzFeed is accelerating ahead with plans to broaden its presence and storytelling after it partnered with CNN to launch a new YouTube channel that will feature broadcast content specifically designed to be shared across social platforms.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed COO Jon Steinberg said the company will invest “a low eight-digit sum” over two years to develop content for the ‘CNN BuzzFeed’ channel. Initially, three new videos will be created per week, which will play alongside older, non-news content from CNN and more virally-designed BuzzFeed videos.

BuzzFeed already has half a dozen YouTube channels but its partnership with CNN represents a significant coup that pairs its social-savvy news approach with an established media name.

Beyond strengthening BuzzFeed’s proposition, the deal is also a significant one for CNN. Kenneth Estenson, Senior VP for CNN Digital, says that it will “enable both organizations to engage new audiences”, and certainly such an alliance will help raise CNN’s profile among young Internet-based readers.

BuzzFeed didn’t begin working with advertisers on its site until 2011, some five years after its launch, and a similar approach will also be taken to monetizing its video efforts with CNN.

“BuzzFeed and CNN will figure out ways to do various ad formats and sponsored content down the road,” Steinberg told the Journal, confirming that the partnership is sans advertisers on launch.

The news is also a significant coup for YouTube, which welcomes two significant news houses to its platform.

YouTube has been doubling down on original content for the video. Aside from being the Web’s unanimous choice for user-generated videos — it is now seeing 100 hours of video uploaded per minute — the Google-owned site has its Channels initiative to encourage original content producers, and it recently launched a subscription service.

BuzzFeed launched a business-focused branch of its site last week as it targets new readers and topics outside of it existing niche.

Here’s an example of how BuzzFeed will reuse older CNN content:

Headline image via David McNew / Getty Images

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