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CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker‘s facelift at the cable news network continues with a social media initiative designed to capitalize on the network’s vast video archive.
CNN is partnering with viral video destination BuzzFeed (“What 2,000 Calories Looks Like,” “The Angriest Babies in the Whole World”) to launch a YouTube channel that gives BuzzFeed access to CNN’s video archives for use in creating mash-up news videos. For example, rescue moments shown over the years on CNN — from baby Jessica McClure in Midland, Texas in 1987 to the dramatic 2010 mission to save 33 Chilean miners – are combined in a two-minute video with heart-tugging voice-over narration. CNN BuzzFeed will be tailored for the social web with content appearing on CNN.com and the CNN BuzzFeed YouTube channel.
BuzzFeed’s massive audience is hungry for new, interesting video formats,” noted Ze Frank, executive vp of video at BuzzFeed. “CNN.com is one of the biggest, strongest news sites in the world.” The goal, added Frank, is to “try to crack original news video for the social web.”
BuzzFeed’s YouTube channels have notched more than 170 million views and 500 total videos since September 2012 with 48 videos generating more than one million views including “2,000 Calories” and “Angriest Babies.”
More than 70 percent of BuzzFeed’s traffic is social and the majority of its readers are between the ages of 18-34, a demographic conspicuously younger than those that routinely watch television news. For CNN, the partnership is an example of the “new thinking” Zucker has said CNN needs to adopt in order to compete in an age of instant news updates. The partnership is part of an overall expansion of video operations at BuzzFeed designed to create shareable, emotionally compelling video for the mobile generation.
“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,” says BuzzFeed president and COO Jon Steinberg.
BuzzFeed will eventually hire 30 people for the new initiative with production offices in a newly constructed studio in Los Angeles that will have a coffee shop and store where influencers, thinkers and celebrities can create informal videos made for the social web.
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